Every evening, as eightyear- old Anish Parthiv rides his bicycle in the Hiranandani Complex garden at Powai, his neighbour, Prem Vachani, 73, takes an evening walk with his senior citizen friends.
On Thursday afternoon, the neighbours rode bicycles together, along with two hundred students and Powai residents, on the occasion of World Carfree Day.
The cycle rally was organised by The Young Environmentalists, a citizens’ group, in association with a local hotel, for the fourth year in a row.
“My mother said I should do my bit for the environment. Most of the families in my colony have three cars each,” said Parthiv, who was the youngest participant in the rally. “Riding bicycles will help in reducing pollution and Mumbai will become a clean city.”
The rally saw participation not only from residents of Hiranandani Complex, but also five neighbourhood schools, and a few engineering students from the Indian Institute of Technology - Bombay.
“How can age be considered a barrier, when issues such as pollution and traffic affect everyone?” asked Vachani, who crossed the finishing line ahead of most young riders.
“Cycling is a good form of physical exercise. Not only does it keep the air clear, but also helps to stay fit.”
“The carfree project is a broad, emerging network brought together by a shared belief that cars are far too dominant in most modern cities. The goal of the movement is to create places where car use is greatly reduced, and to liberate road and parking space for public use,” said Elsie Gabriel, founder, The Young Environmentalists.
The participants took two rounds of the Powai Hiranandani area.
Standing a few metres from the finishing line, Abhilasha Shrivastava, 18, a second year metallurgy student from IIT-B, chose to cheer the participants. Holding a banner that read “Burn Fat, Not Oil”, Shrivastava encouraged her classmates. “It is overwhelming to see 200 participants, including professionals and students, take time out of their busy schedules on a working day,” said Shrivastava.