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Dubai Car Free Day may take national stage Sajila Saseendran / 19 February 2014 The Director General of Dubai Municipality Hussain Nasser Lootah was joined by senior officials of various departments in riding the Metro from the Etisalat station to the Union station next to the municipality’s headquarters. Dubai Police Commander-in-Chief Major General Khamis Mattar Al Mazeina, Director General of Dubai Municipality Hussain Nasser Lootah with other officials. Photos by Juidin Bernarrd/Khaleej Times Dubai’s Car Free Day initiative is likely to be extended to all the emirates with the Environment Minister supporting the idea to make it a national drive. Responding to a query by Khaleej Times , Minister for Environment and Water Dr. Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad said he would support the idea of taking the initiative to the UAE level. “There are other green initiatives taking place in other emirates as well. But this is a very good initiative that encourages people to leave cars and use mass transportation to reduce environmental pollution. I support the idea to take it to the national level.” Earlier in the morning, ministers and top officials of government departments led thousands of Dubai residents in leaving their cars at home and taking public transport to work on Dubai Municipality’s fifth Car Free Day. The Director General of Dubai Municipality Hussain Nasser Lootah was joined by senior officials of various departments in riding the Metro from the Etisalat station to the Union station next to the municipality’s headquarters. Lootah said the aim of the day was to encourage people, especially those commuting between just two points — home and office — to use public transport to save the environment from pollution. ‘We want everyone to think about Dubai’s environment, the increasing number of cars, and take steps to make a difference. It’s everybody’s responsibility. We want people to move away from their iPads and other gadgets and walk. Using public transport is good not only for the environment, it is good for health also.’ CEO of Public Transport at the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) Dr. Yousif Al Ali said he would look into the possibility of making public transport free of charge on Car Free Day. ‘We have the annual Free Public Transport Day and that also aims to encourage people to use Metro and buses. The purpose is the same for this (Car Free Day) initiative also,’ he pointed out. About 65 entities from the public and private sectors took part in this year’s Car Free Day, making it the biggest green drive in the emirate. The municipality estimates about 9,000 people to have ditched their cars today, reducing more than 20 tonnes of carbon dioxide emission. The civic body has announced sport bicycles as prizes to 100 participants who registered online. Spreading the message of the initiative, 100 employees of the municipality participated in a 3.5 km bicycle rally from Deira City Centre to the DM headquarters. An exhibition of eco-friendly cars and other projects, a mime about environmental pollution by students of Our Own High School Al Warqa were among the activities organised at the municipality’s sprawling parking lot, which was closed for cars for the day. firstname.lastname@example.org For more news from Khaleej Times, follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/khaleejtimes , and on Twitter at @khaleejtimes Continue reading →
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