‘No Car Sunday’ organised in Connaught Place
Scores of Delhiites, including youngsters, gathered in Connaught Place on Sunday morning, cycling and walking, with a message for people to ditch their private vehicles for a day.
The campaign called, ‘No Car Sunday’, which was first started by a group of teenage environment activists as a local initiative to discourage neighbours from using their cars for one day of the week to help reduce vehicular emissions in the national capital, has now become a multi-city campaign that was organised on Sunday in Mumbai, Bangalore and Lucknow.
The initiative is now being backed by Fridays for Future (India chapter), Let Me Breathe, Vrikshit Foundation, My Right to Breathe and Extinction Rebellion (India).
Sixteen-year-old Aditya Dubey, who was among the youngsters who started this campaign, said that this was initiated to encourage public participation to send out the message that every citizen of the country can contribute to making the environment cleaner for the coming generations.
“I am an asthmatic myself and I know how difficult it is hundreds like me in Delhi to just exercise our basic right to breathe. Things only get worse for us during the winters. We all know the contribution that vehicular emissions make to the rising pollution in the country and our small contribution can go a long way in reducing that,” said Dubey.
Many youngsters like Dubey came out to the streets of Delhi with the same message, coaxing the adults to start using more sustainable modes of transportations such as cycles, public transportation or walking as much as possible.
Participants stood with posters reading, “clean air everyday’, ‘this is my space to walk’, and ‘reclaiming my right to breathe’. The participants cycled and used the Yulu bikes from central Delhi’s Shivaji Stadium metro station as a symbolic gesture to reclaim the streets for cyclists and walkers.
The Delhi government has also introduced a similar concept in 2015, calling it ‘car free day’ where in some roads of the city private vehicles were not allowed to ply for selected days. The concept, however, was not sustained.
Bhavreen Kandhari, environmental activist, who is also backing this campaign, said that this initiative by children and young adults is a wake-up call for adults to start doing their bit for the environment.
“We are planning to increase the ambit of this campaign and want that the government should also take interest and get involved in this initiative that has been taken up by children of this city. Today (Sunday) when we took the campaign to the streets we saw that there was a great appreciation and acceptance to this concept,” Kandhari said.
She also said that while the ‘No Car Sunday’ was being encouraged because it is easier for people to avoid using the vehicles on a weekend, people can choose any convenient day when they would not take their cars out.
“We are privileged and many in the city own multiple cars, but there are the less privileged ones who are the direct victims of air pollution that is aggravated by our vehicular emissions. We need to do this for them, and for all of us,” she said.