Staff Report www.khaleejtimes.com
DUBAI — Dubai Municipality on Wednesday called its first ever Car Free Day initiative a “huge success” as more than 1,500 employees of the civic body turned up for duty without taking their cars.
Most of them depended on Dubai Metro and public transport buses to reach the office.
The Car Free was observed as part of a new green initiative launched by Dubai Municipality, the first government department in the country to do so.
Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality, took the lead when he boarded the Metro from Rashidiya Station and got down at the Union Square Station, adjacent to the Municipality.
His colleagues, across all grades and positions, also used different means of public transport to reach the office.
Lootah received the first batch of employees at the entrance of the main building.
“We hope the green initiative, launched by the municipality to motivate and educate employees to use sustainable transport to preserve the environment, will be emulated by other government departments in Dubai,” said Lootah.
“Except for our field employees, a large number of staff participated in the initiative. We encouraged the employees by reimbursing the ticket charges for the Metro and buses,” he said.
Hailing the commitment of all employees which helped in turning the concept into a successful initiative, Lootah said the idea paved the steps towards enhancing opportunities for sustainable urban transport and improving air quality in urban areas as well as reducing carbon dioxide emission that contributes to climate change.
Twenty lucky municipal employees, including an office boy who used public transport, were given a cash award of Dh250 after being chosen as “Green Winners” of a raffle draw held as part of the incentives to the participants.
The employees of the main building of Dubai Municipality, the nearby Clinic and Community Services Section, the Central Archives, the old building, and the Municipal Council participated in the Car Free Day. The parking lots inside the Municipality compound remained closed for the day.
The initiative was launched to encourage the local community to care for their city the best way they can by reducing the number of vehicles, especially those used on the city’s main roads and also to raise awareness on alternative means of transport.
A detailed report about the result of implementing the initiative, which will include statistics on the volume of carbon dioxide emission reduced, is being prepared by the municipality.
According to its Environment Department, the transport sector contributes 42 per cent of the gas pollution in Dubai and the carbon dioxide emission per vehicle varies from 110-250 g/km. A total of 1,021,880 vehicles emitted 23, 34,762Kg of carbon dioxide a day in 2009.