Dubai: Having a Car-Free Day is not only about residents ditching their cars for one day, but a day dedicated to encourage others to follow suit.
“As the city grows, the number of cars also increases and brings about a number of effects related to health, environment and society. As a society, we are all responsible for encouraging others to use other modes of transport,” said Hussain Nasser Lootah, director-general of Dubai Municipality.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Lootah announced that as many as 61 government and private entities will participate in next week’s Car-Free Day, set to take place on February 19.
On that Wednesday, all participants will reach their workplace using various means of public transport, such as the Metro, buses and water taxis, as parking lots of all participating organisations will be closed throughout the day.
Lootah highlighted the need to have a federal law on car ownership in a bid to reduce the number of vehicles on roads across the country.
“It is cheap to get a car here and it is common for a household to have more than one. But having so many people commuting to work is a problem that can be avoided because they only have one destination to get to; their home or their job. To fight this problem, federal authorities should implement a law to control the ownership of cars,” he said.
Lootah also suggested a salary limit scheme, which would limit car ownership to residents who earn above a set monthly income.
“There are lots of factors that should be taken into consideration, and the authorities concerned should carry out a comprehensive study that looks into people’s salaries, number of family members, and also a study to increase car insurance and raise the cost of public parking,” said Lootah.
More than 7,000 cars are expected to be off Dubai’s roads, leading to a reduction of almost 20 tonnes of carbon emissions. Car Free Day is an initiative of Dubai Municipality aimed at contributing to the reduction of carbon emissions and spreading awareness about global warming and how to control it.
Mohammad Al Jarman, director-general of Emirates Transport, added that there are 6,500 buses that carry 600,000 passengers a day, and agreed that residents should take advantage of public transport, including the Metro, to reduce traffic and protect the environment.