‘Need to work close to home so city can breathe’

Shimona Kanwar

Road traffic need not necessarily lead to pollution

On World Car Free Day today, Dr Ravindra Khaiwal, additional professor, environment health, School of Public Health and department of Community Medicine, PGI, speaks to Shimona Kanwar about ways to keep the environment clean with traffic modifications.
Road traffic need not necessarily lead to pollution, says Ravindra Khaiwal, discussing ways of going car-free.
Why celebrate car-free day at all?
This day is celebrated to create awareness about clean and green modes of transport which encourages people to cycle or walk to work .

Why is car-free day important?
We know that emission from the transport sector in cities is majorly responsible for increased air pollution and noise pollution levels. Air pollution is one of the leading causes of premature mortality and morbidity, leading to over 7 million deaths globally. Noise pollution is linked with an increased risk of hypertension and many non-communicable diseases.
How will it benefit cities?
We need to plan and develop cities in a way that people work closer to home, including markets and schools. This will help cities breathe and reduce traffic on the road. We know that traffic congestion enhances exposure to air pollution.
Do you have any suggestions for the city planner?
Smart cities should include clean and green transportation components, like the electric public transport being planned by City Beautiful. The connectivity should be to the last miles and flexible. The bike route should be extended to rural areas of cities where majority of users live. The road should have spaces to walk or pedal and their safety should be the top priority.
What is your say on the Smart Bike project?
We must appreciate the Chandigarh administration’s effort to initiate the smart bike project. The city is focusing on extension, maintenance and safety of cycle routes. One can use this while limiting pollution emissions.