The Dubai Municipality carpark near the Deira Creek remains deserted during a Car Free Day conducted earlier. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News Archives

Dubai: More than 7,000 private cars will not be used on Car Free Day on February 4 to raise environmental awareness, encourage public transport use and reduce pollution and traffic, Dubai Municipality announced on Wednesday.

Employees from 200 government departments, educational establishments, and private companies have already pledged not to use their cars on the day. There will be even fewer cars on the road with some private residents joining the campaign.

The annual event this year also coincides with National Environment Day, heightening the emphasis on protection of the environment.

Vehicles are the main source of air pollutants, accounting for 15 to 20 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide, the municipality noted.

More than 2,000,000 vehicles use Dubai roads every day, exceeding the road capacity network, it added.

“As far as global statistics are concerned, there are around 10,000 to 24,000 deaths per year due to traffic congestion, which almost doubles the effect of air pollutants on public health,” the municipality said.

In a statement, the civic body added that a World Health Organisation study found the number of deaths attributed to diseases caused by air pollutants in Austria, Switzerland and France has exceeded 21,000 per year. This is more than the number of deaths caused by traffic accidents in these three countries.

Also, the particle pollution PM10 generated from vehicles lead to 10,000 deaths annually as a result of cardio and lung diseases caused by inhalation of this type of air pollutant.

The reduction in carbon dioxide emissions through the five editions of the Dubai initiative has reached 20 tonnes. One tonne of these emissions exceeds the size of a double-decker bus.

The latest edition was announced during a press conference on Wednesday at the municipality’s main building in Deira.

Hussain Lootah, Director-General of Dubai Municipality,said the initiative presented “a great opportunity to highlight the commitment of all stakeholders towards preserving the environment and adopting environment-friendly practices”.

On February 4, an exhibition will also be held at the parking lot of the municipality main building to showcase products, projects and research regarding environment-friendly practices.

The imitative will also hopefully lead to other emirates adopting a similar campaign, added Salem Bin Mesmar, assistant director-general, environment, health and safety control sector, Dubai Municipality.