The American University in Dubai was amongst the many companies who participated in the Car Free Day initiative on Sunday in response to raised awareness by Dubai Municipality and commitment towards the environment.
Many people left their cars behind on Sunday and opted for different methods of transportation in what had originally started in 2010 by Dubai Municipality as “Car Free Day” is considered a unique initiative of its kind in the region.
The initiative was said to establish Dubai as a global sustainable city as well as to show the city’s commitment towards applicable environmental conventions in an overall endeavor to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the city.
Gulf News had reported that almost 2500 businesses, 200 major government departments and private firms took part in this year’s 8th annual Car Free Day.
Adding that this year’s annual day was even more important than any other of its kind because the Dubai Municipality would be raising and giving away any donations received to charity organization and towards the plantation of trees all over Dubai.
“Dubai Municipality launched the initiative to explain to the people how important it is to reduce the use of cars on the street and use the public transport,” said Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality, to Gulf News.
“We have a high quality public transportation [system] and we feel we have a lot of possibilities, with the cooperation of all, in reducing the carbon emission and the effect on the environment,” he added.
The initiative is part of Dubai’s Expo 2020 program that aims to provide a platform that fosters creativity, innovation and global partnerships and accelerate the development of cutting-edge solutions.
While according to their website, Car Free day aims at to achieve the goals set forth by the Expo program, to create an excellence for the Emirate, to raise awareness and usage of public transportation and finally to protect the environment and natural resources.
Tala Hajj, a regular user of the metro said: “I think the initiative is a good idea but I think it needs to be on a bigger scale and perhaps include other cities within the UAE for the awareness to truly have an impact on the environment and the country’s residents.”
According to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year while NASA reporting that Carbon dioxide levels in the air are at the highest they’ve ever been in 650,000 years.
Greenhouse gas emissions and the excess in carbon dioxide footprint, in accordance with NASA, has caused: nine out of 10 of the warmest years to occur between the year 2000 onwards and the Arctic sea ice to shrink to the lowest extent its ever been at in 2012.
Numerous people in Dubai opted for the metro with some choosing other methods of transportation such as public buses, carpooling and even cycling in response to the awareness.
AUD was one of the institutes whom encouraged many of its faculty members, staff and students to ditch their cars and find a greener route to work and school on Sunday.
Professor Yasmine Bahrani was one of the faculty members who received the email about Car Free day and said: “I think it’s an excellent idea because I care about the environment and I think car [gas] emissions have negative impacts on the environment.”
“So any steps that we take, no matter how small they may be to help us have cleaner air, are good steps by my standards.”