Humaid Al Qutami, Minister of Education, Hussain Nasser Lootah, director-general of Dubai Municipality, and other officials ride the Metro on Car Free Day. Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes /Gulf News

Dubai: Authorities are urging parents to change their children’s habits to minimise their carbon footprint, and starting eco-friendly practises at home.

“Parents should start educating their children on the importance of the environment and families should practise it in their homes because there is nothing shameful in collecting your rubbish and recycling it,” said Atiq Nasib, Senior Director of Commercial Services Sector, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

More than 27 government and private institutions participated yesterday in Car Free Day 2013, which was organised by Dubai Municipality, including Dr Rashid Bin Fahd, Minister of Environment and Water, and Humaid Al Qutami, Minister of Education.

According to the municipality, more than 5,000 government and private employees left their cars at home and used public transport to reach work yesterday — resulting in a reduction of 15 tonnes of carbon emission.

Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality, used the initiative to spread the message of using public transport as he took the Metro from Etisalat station to Union station while commuting to work.

“It was a great experience on the train and I use it every time I have to attend events at the Trade Centre. The environment is part of our responsibility and we are keen to provide mechanisms to protect it, from issuing specifications, laws, regulations and inspections,” said Lootah, noting that it is the public’s responsibility to make Dubai a green city and keep it clean.

Speaking yesterday at the fourth edition of Car Free Day, Hamdan Al Shaer, Head of Environment Department, pointed out that the commitment of the leadership plays an effective role and when directors of companies and ministers join in the campaign, others will follow their example and pay attention to their carbon footprint.

“We all have to think of eco-conservation and energy conservation that will reduce the city’s carbon footprint, so you have to pay attention to your daily lifestyle,” he said.

“The choices we make in our daily lifestyle is personal, based on experiences, so this initiative is carrying out several roles. On Car Free Day, we closed all the car parks so if customers want to do business with any government department, they are forced to use public transportation,” Al Shaer explained.

Last year, 18 organisations participated in the initiative which resulted in 3,500 vehicles not being used and a reduction of 10.5 tonnes of carbon emission.