By Victoria Effiong
Tackling environmental challenges and global warming may become easier if humans ditch their cars for bicycles and walking which will in turn, improve their health, stakeholders said at an event to mark by the World Car Free Day in Calabar on Wednesday.
The event, flagged off by the Speaker of the ninth Cross River State House of Assembly, Eteng Jones Williams was organised by the Green Pedal fo Development Foundation to promote the culture of cycling and walking.
“I am here to promote the culture of walking and cycling and to let people know the benefits to our health. I want to encourage everyone not to let the culture end with this event today. I recommend that we try to cycle or walk at least three times in a week,” Eteng told attendees shortly before the kick off at the University of Calabar main gate.
The attendees walked and cycled for three kilometers from UNICAL main gate through Mary Slessor avenue to Etim Edem park and back to zoo garden, along the avenue leaving commuters wondering what the event is about.
September 22 is set aside to motivate motorists to give up their cars for a single day. It is seen as a great opportunity to reduce air pollution. It provides a glimpse of how the world can be 365 days a year without traffic and is a commitment towards clean and sustainable urban transport options.
And, the foundation’s founder, Professor Inah Oko said the need to embrace non motorized transportation was becoming fast, a necessity.
“Cars have taken so much of our daily lives as our movements, economic activities, utility and leisure revolves around cars. So, it is important to set the cars aside once in a while,” Oko said, urging individuals to “get a bicycle and be part of the change they want to see in our environment.”
He sought government government intervention in the call to action, stressing that, “it is true we do not have cycling infrastructure in the state but we can only pressurise government into providing these structures by cycling more.”
Most cars currently use fossil fuels with catalytic converters to minimize emissions. However, the President of foundation, Obase Okanke explained that a World Health Organisation report states that, in 2016 “ambient air pollution alone led to approximately 4.2 million deaths.”
“Beyond just reducing carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere the day gives people the opportunity to exercise,” Okanke said.
Stunt cyclists and skaters thrilled passersby with the Captain of the State’s cycling club, Kevin Ekpenyong listing the benefits of cycling to include improvement of mental health and build endurance , since every part of one’s body is working while cycling.
For Ikay, a professional skater, using a skateboard has helped him loose weight and keep shape since he began three years ago.
Below are images from the event…
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