DUBAI // More than 1,500 organisations are expected to take part in this year’s Dubai Municipality Car Free Day, a 40 per cent increase from last year.
Hussain Lootah, director general, said 580 organisations have signed up for the initiative so far. It aims to raise awareness on the environmental impact of driving and encourage residents to use public transport.
“There are 365 days in the year, and Car Free Day does not necessarily have to be just one day on February 5,” Mr Lootah said. “We encourage companies to hold their own car free day for their employees, and, we, at Dubai Municipality, are ready to provide them with the support they need.”
In 2016, nearly 1,070 organisations took part in the event, Mr Lootah said. More are expected to be involved this year, including dignitaries and heads of government departments.
“Each vehicle, with a full 15-gallon tank, emits nearly 140 kilograms of carbon dioxide into the air, thus the amount of total emissions annually would be about four tonnes and these emissions contribute towards global warming,” he said.
This will be the eighth annual Car Free Day and employees of the General Directorate of Resident and Foreigners Affairs have committed to taking part.
Many of the department’s employees already use Dubai Metro when commuting to work, said Maj Gen Ahmed Al Marri, director general of GDRFA.
“I, myself, use the metro when I have meetings at the airport,” he said. “Not only is it environmentally friendly, but it is very punctual. You know exactly how much time you need to get to your destination.
Support for the initiative, which launched in 2010 with only two organisations, has grown every year, Mr Lootah said. He said they hoped to achieve record participation this year with more private sector companies getting involved.
Last year, nearly 30,000 personal vehicles were left at home for Car Free Day, with people opting to more using environmentally friendly transport instead, Mr Lootah said. “In the first year of the initiative, only 1,000 vehicles were left at home.”
Companies wishing to take part in Car Free Day can register via Dubai Municipality's website dm.gov.ae.