Environmentalists call for promoting cycling
ISLAMABAD: Cycling culture offers a healthy option for residents to ward off impact of auto emissions and climate change which is silently and persistently affecting human health, particularly in the twin cities, that had been serene and full green in 70s and 80s.
Bicycle is environment friendly, inexpensive and improves health of the riders, said International Islamic University Islamabad Environmental Sciences Department Chairman Ibrar Shinwari.
Promoting cycling will help in achieving Sustainable Development Goal of bringing down temperature by two degree Celsius by reducing emission of lethal gases in the air, he added.
He emphasised to designate cycling area on each artery of the federal capital to encourage cyclists.
“Arranging cycling competitions among students will help promote this healthy and environment-friendly mode of transport, Shinwari said.
Another environmentalist Uzma Saeed, sharing her experience in European countries, said she witnessed large number of bicycles on the roads for which lanes had been specified.
However, she compared the European culture and thought to that in Islamabad and said: “We should specify the lanes first; then go for the awareness.”
She urged the youth to opt for cycling as large part of the country’s population consisted of youngsters. Setting a very high target Saeed said: “If we manage to turn 10 motorists to be bicycle-users a month, it may help in bringing back the pleasant weather of Islamabad that did entice tourists in late 70s and 80s.”
Some residents also demanded for adding a cycling lane along each road of the Margalla city. They said it would definitely promote the healthy activity, besides ensuring safety of the public.
“The cycling trend has vanished across the country during the past some decades due to availability of cars and buses,” said Ali Ahmed, a student of Master of Science.
He pointed out the unprecedented popularity gained by the ride-sharing services within a short span of time, did indicate that the public had been less concerned about their health by unintentionally ignoring this pro-health activity. Ali said: “I still ride bicycle to university and plan to continue for the sake of my own health.”
Shayan Saeed, another student of intermediate of Rawalpindi Waqaru Nisa College, suggested that the cycling was a better option for teenage students who had to manage daily affairs with meager resources. “We, the youth, must encourage this mode of transportation by keeping in mind the climate change factor,” she added.
Dr Shafeeq, a cardiologist said that every fourth, out of 10, was a victim of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular and diabetes that had somehow become a perplexed issue for medical fraternity.
Stressing exercise to avoid chronic ailments, he said, “Cycling is one of the best forms of aerobic exercises that helps to burn extra calories, improving metabolism, and balancing blood sugar level.”
Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) spokesperson said the use of the bicycle was no more in vogue that needs to be promoted through awareness campaigns. The ITP’s education unit was fully cooperating with some private organisations and providing assistance in their activities with regard to such campaigns, he added.
A CDA official said that the cycling-lanes were added to three major roads, including Margalla Road, Constitution Avenue and Seventh Avenue under Islamabad Green Charter Programme two years ago.
However, it has been observed that very few people use these lanes. He admitted that the mayor had vowed to introduce these lanes at major road, but it could be not carried out due to paucity of funds.