Residents of Al Ain, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah are being encouraged to ditch their vehicles in favour of public transport or carpooling as part of Dubai’s Car Free Day on February 4.
Some 60,000 cars stayed off the roads last year as part of the campaign.
“The door is open to all in the UAE as it is no more a local event,” said Hussain Lootah, director general of Dubai Municipality on Wednesday.
“It has become a model for protecting the environment from carbon pollution that affects everyone.”
The initiative, in it's ninth year, aims to remind people of air pollution due to vehicle emission.
“Nearly 60,000 vehicles halted during the eighth Car-Free Day, which is equivalent to a reduction of about 174 tons of carbon emissions that may necessitate the cultivation of 1,218 trees. The number of vehicles that participated last year is 33 per cent higher than the number of vehicles in 2016, which was estimated at 45,000 vehicles,” he said.
The number of organisations that participated dropped last year to 200 but the numbers who registered confirming they would use public transport to reach their workplace increased to about 2,500.
“This shift reflects the level of awareness of individuals and the increased social responsibility towards environmental issues. The annual event is delivering the message to preserve the environment and our natural resources,” Mr Lootah said.
Authorities hope that information about fumes released by cars will get residents to act.
“Each vehicle with a full tank fuel size of 15 gallons emits nearly 140 kilograms of carbon dioxide into the air. Thus the amount of total emissions annually would be about four tons and this contributes towards global warming,” he said.
As per municipality estimates, the programme caused a drop in the level of nitrogen dioxide by 19.4 per cent, sulfur dioxide by 29.8 per cent, ground ozone gas by 8.12 per cent and carbon monoxide by 9.4 per cent compared to other days.
The impact on noise reduction and traffic congestion was also significant - by 0.37 per cent.
The campaign aims to contribute towards goals of preserving air quality and slashing the carbon footprint as per the country’s goals for 2021.
Residents can register on the Car Free Day web page that can be accessed via the municipality site www.dm.gov.ae