Dubai: The car-free day initiative organised by Dubai Municipality on Wednesday was a "huge success" with more than 2,500 employees from the municipality and other government departments arriving to work on time using public transport.
Radio 2: Nasreen Abdulla reports on Dubai Municipality's Car Free Day
* Audio supplied by Radio 2
Dubai Land Department, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Etisalat employees who took part in the initiative also travelled to their offices using different means of public transport such as Metro and buses.
Engineer Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director-General of Dubai Municipality, led the large contingent of officials from Municipality in the environmental initiative organised for the second year in cooperation with the Roads and Transport Authority.
Lootah and his colleagues took the Metro from Al Rashidiya Station to Union Square station, adjacent to the Municipality.
Upon their arrival to the empty municipality parking, a ceremony was held to mark the occasion, which was also attended by Sultan Butti Bin Mijrin, Director-General, Dubai Lands Department and Ganem Al Merri, Director-General, Etisalat, Dubai.
Lootah, who expressed his happiness on the increased representation of local departments in the initiative, said from next year onwards the Municipality will try to rope in the private sector establishments.
The ceremony included an environment-friendly car show, bio diesel project, a photo exhibition on the last year's initiative, for which Dubai Municipality bagged the Idea Arabia Award, and a commemorative tree planting by Lootah and other officials.
A religious lecture by Shaikh Abdullah Al Kamali titled "Islam and Environment" was also organised at the Municipality's City Hall as part of the Car-Free Day initiative.
"The Car-Free Day was organised to encourage the local community to care their cities the best way by reducing the number of vehicles, especially those used on city roads and also to raise awareness on alternative means of transport," said Lootah.
He recalled that last year the initiative could save the environment from three tonnes of carbon dioxide emission as more than 1,000 vehicles of employees did not reach the Municipality, in addition to the vehicles of the DM customers.
Asma Murad Ahmad, a DM Media Department employee of one year, said she came to work on the metro and thought it was a great idea.
"Not only is using public transport good for the environment, it also helps reduce traffic congestion and for us it was fun to get together with fellow employees and catch up during the ride," Asma said.
"I drove to Al Rashidiya metro station with a colleague, who was carpooling with me, and we parked our car there and took the metro to work. Both of us are looking forward to the trip back, and we would like to do this more often, not just once every year," she added.