Dubai aims for record Car Free Day this year

Last year, 300 organisations participated, with nearly 30,000 people opting to use public transport instead of taking their car.

DUBAI // Dubai Municipality hopes to achieve a record for this year’s Car Free Day by persuading more people to get to work without their vehicles.

Its director general, Hussein Lootah, aims to have 1,000 organisations take part in the seventh annual event on February 21 – more than three times the number involved last year.

Last year, 300 organisations and 30,000 people used public transport on Car Free Day. Only two companies took part when the initiative was launched in 2010.

“With more cars comes more carbon dioxide emissions, an increase in temperature and an increase in the use of electricity and energy,” said Mr Lootah.

“We want to encourage residents to use Dubai’s public transport, the metro, the buses and water transport.”

He said Dubai was striving to be the world’s most environmentally-friendly city by increasing the use of environmentally sustainable transport tools.

Over the past six years, Car Free Days have saved an estimated 140 tonnes of carbon emissions. Alya Al Harmoudi, the municipality’s director of the environment, said the estimates were based on the readings of air-quality measuring instruments that record the levels of carbon emissions and noise before, during and after February 21.

An estimated 147,000 litres of fuel were saved in the six events, she said.

Saeed Hareb, general secretary of Dubai Sports Council, said the Car Free Day initiative encourages people to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

“We want to promote a sports community and encourage people to be more active in Dubai, where there are a lot of cases of obesity,” he said.

The municipality has set up a website for Car Free Day at www.dm.gov.ae and individuals and companies can register to take part.

“We are expecting a strong and positive community response through a reduction in the use of personal vehicles to reach work sites and to use any possible eco-friendly means, such as mass transportation or carpooling,” said Ms Al Harmoudi.

“Together we can contribute to reduce the carbon footprint of the emirate and promote environmental gains for present and future generations, not just for a day but everyday.”

dmoukhallati@thenational.ae

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