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Ethiopia marks the country’s third Car Free Day

Posted by Charles Clerck (Admin) Feb 5, 2019

Addis Ababa as well as other cities across the country have marked the country’s third Car Free Day. The monthly event is designed to promote a healthy lifestyle and fight air pollution. The measure was implemented by the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who was came to office last April after his predecessor resigned.

Both Rwanda and Ethiopia have successfully established and implemented car-free days in major cities to ease traffic congestion, promote green transport, reduce carbon emission and encourage people to exercise.

Rwanda’s capital Kigali launched the Car-Free Day in 2016 which has now become a bi-monthly event where prominent people including President Paul Kagame join hundreds of Kigali residents to burn some calories. Main roads are usually closed temporarily for residents to walk, jog and ride bicycles. 

To promote a healthy lifestyle and fight air pollution, the country observed its third car-free day on Sunday, February 3, 2019, which saw footballers, runners, skateboarders and regular Ethiopians storm the empty streets to show off their talents and keep fit.

The monthly event is promoted by local NGOs and the Ethiopian government. However, many other African countries have not yet accept the concept of Car-Free Day which has proved efficient in cleaning the air and keeping Africans fit.

Kenya’s capital has attempted implementing a car-free day in the Central Business District in February but suspended the programme “for more consultation”. Transport minister James Macharia said on January 30 that the programme will begin in late February.

The Kenyan government plans to close certain roads in the city on Wednesdays and Fridays to roll out the much-awaited Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) buses which will be the only vehicles to operate on the two days in the Central Business District. Kenya’s car-free days are directed at “decongesting the city and attracting investors,” said Public Works Minister Paul Maringa.

September 22 is the World Car-Free Day marked globally to encourage motorists to give up their cars for a day and for cities to realize how much pollution affects lives. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution alone caused some 4.2 million deaths in 2016.

This post was edited on Feb 5, 2019 by Charles Clerck

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