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Human chain of students in Rupnagar area to reduce non-communicable diseases

Students want walk to school to stay away from non-communicable diseases. But due to lack of safe and comfortable environment for walking, many people become dependent on cars or rickshaws. Thus the use of vehicles increases the risk of accidents, so students and their parents are not interested in traveling. In order to change this situation, it is necessary for the concerned ministries, departments and city corporations of the government to take concerted efforts.

Extreme air pollution kills about 175,000 people in Bangladesh every year. Not only that, but air pollution also increases the risk of non-communicable diseases such as lung cancer and other complex respiratory diseases. Vehicles emit 25% of the world's carbon, which is also accelerating climate change. Walking and cycling will reduce air and noise pollution, fuel consumption as well as traffic congestion and road accidents. At the same time, it is possible to meet the need for physical activity by walking, so the risk of non-communicable diseases will also be reduced. According to the Sustainable Urban Transportation Index of Dhaka city, school trips account for 17.7% of the total trips in the city. Significant changes in health and the environment are possible through this remarkable number of trips on foot and by bicycle. This was stated by the speakers at a human chain titled " We want a safe environment for walking to school to reduce non-communicable diseases " in front of Rupnagar Pilot School and College, Dhaka Ideal Cadet School, AstraZeneca and Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust on 11 November 2021 at 11.00 am.

Naima Akter, Project Officer, Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust, said that non-communicable diseases accounted for 67% of all deaths in Bangladesh. The risk of non-communicable diseases is high among our future generations due to unhealthy eating habits and lack of necessary physical activity. It is possible to easily meet the demand for physical labor by walking to school regularly. Students are discouraged from walking due to broken sidewalks, lack of access to plains, speed of vehicles etc. It is necessary to take immediate steps to ensure safe walking environment in the schools of the concerned authorities including the City Corporation.

M.A Mannan Monir, the founding principal of Dhaka Ideal Cadet School, said that at least 30 minutes of physical labor is required every day to stay healthy. In our city there are not enough field-parks so children are deprived of opportunities for physical labor and socialization. Walking to school will not only ensure physical fitness but also reduce carbon emissions by reducing vehicle use. If the amount of environmental pollution is reduced, it will be possible to reduce the level of various complex non-communicable diseases including cancer.

S.M Tuhin, Headmaster of Rupnagar Pilot School and College, said that 100% of the students in our school walk to school. On the busy road in front of the school, they have to face various problems and even accidents due to excessive speed of vehicles, horns, lack of road crossing facilities etc. Ensuring a safe walking environment for children will benefit every city dweller. Through today's program, we are drawing the attention of the concerned authorities to create a conducive environment for walking.

The students demanded speed control of vehicles to ensure safe walking environment at the school, avoid unnecessary horn blowing, adequate pavement construction and maintenance, level road crossing zebra crossings, pedestrian crossing signs, public toilets, closure of illegal parking and seating for pedestrians.

Also present on the occasion were senior project officer of Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust Ziaur Rahman, officials of Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust and teachers and students of Rupnagar Pilot School and College.