Dubai residents turn out for Car Free Day exhibition

Hundreds of residents have made their way using environmentally-friendly modes of transport to Dubai Municipality’s Car Free Day exhibition near Union Metro Station.

DUBAI // Hundreds of people hopped onto the Dubai Metro or used other environmentally friendly forms of transport to make their way to Dubai Municipality’s Car Free Day exhibition near Union Metro Station on Sunday.

Asma Al Marri took the Metro from Al Rashidiya in support of the campaign, to encourages residents to use public transport.

“It’s so great to see all these private and government entities, including the police and ambulances, taking part in the initiative,” she said, adding that she usually drives her own car to work.

“I try to take the metro whenever I can, but I take my car to work because I have my nine-month-old baby with me, and it’s easier for me to carry all her stuff to take to day care,” she said.

Ms Al Marri, who works at Dubai Municipality, said the annual Car Free Day, in its seventh year, was a great way to raise awareness and cut carbon emissions.

“The environment has always been an important issue for the municipality,” she said. “Although staff at Dubai Municipality are provided with parking spots for their car, they are given a free monthly Nol card if they forsake the spot.”

Also at the exhibition was 15-year-old Aisha Jam, who was on a field trip with her class from Raffles World Academy.

"We have been learning in school about pollution and how we can cut carbon emissions, and so the whole 9th grade came here today," she said. "I really like what they have done here, and I especially liked cycling for my own shake."

The exhibition had three themes: environmentally friendly vehicles; a display of the latest technologies and practices to improve air quality; and the preservation of natural resources.

Dubai Municipality hopes to break their record this year with the participation of nearly 1,000 organisations.

Hussain Lootah, director general of Dubai Municipality, said that the campaign this year, held under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid, Crown Prince of Dubai, was much bigger than the years before.

“The implementation of this initiative and its improvement year after year is proof of the commitment of the emirate of Dubai toward the relevant international environmental agreements, including the UN Convention on Climate Change (Kyoto Protocol), which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” he said. “Car Free Day also goes in harmony with the UAE government’s drive to give priority to the climate change protocol, which was embodied through the creation of the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment.”

Meanwhile, Alya Al Harmoudi, director of the environment department at Dubai Municipality, said the campaign’s success was achieved by raising awareness and by the motto “Not a Day ... Everyday,” which encourages residents to make more environmentally-friendly modes of transport part of their daily lives.

“UAE and its people deserve a lot from us, first and foremost to give them a healthy environment and clean air and we have to race against time to create more sustainable solutions,” she said. “It is worth mentioning that for the first time the initiative saw the implementation of an intensive marketing campaign for three weeks focusing on encouraging the adoption of the idea by all segments of the society.”

Dubai Municipality’s Environment Department will in the coming days collect and analyse data to get the final statistics for this year. Last year, nearly 30,000 people avoided using their personal vehicles to reach work.