Unplanned and rapid urbanization is having a very negative impact on the environment and health.The risk of non-communicable diseases among urban dwellers is increasing at an alarming rate. Children are at greater risk especially in the city due to lack of parks, playgrounds and open public spaces and lack of adequate physical activity. About 80 percent of the world's children between the ages of 11 and 17, are not physically fit. It is possible to meet the physical needs of the students by walking to school. As well as reducing the use of motorized vehicles by increasing the number of trips on foot, air and noise pollution will be significantly reduced. In addition to reducing the rate of non-communicable diseases caused by pollution, it is also possible to prevent climate disasters. Despite the poor walking environment, about 95% of the students of Dhanmondi Kachikantha High School travel to school on foot. All the residents of the area will benefit if the relevant authorities including the City Corporation take initiative to ensure a safe and convenient walking environment. Speakers opined such at the awareness program titled "Ensure Active and Safe Route to School to Reduce Non-communicable Diseases" in front of Kachikantha High School on Thursday, November 18, 2021 at 11:30 AM.
Naima Akter, Project Officer, Work for a Better Bangladesh Trustsaid that according to the World Health Organization, it is necessary to walk at least 30 minutes every day to stay healthy. Walking to school can be an easy solution to meet the physical activity needs of the students. Due to broken roads, water logging, excessive speed of vehicles, honking, etc., students and parents are discouraged from walking to school. Relevant stakeholders, including the City Corporation, should take initiative to ensure that students are able to walk to school.
Ziaur Rahman, Senior Project Officer of Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust, said according to a survey among five schools in the Rayerbazar area, 95% students walk to school, but do not have a safe and convenient walking environment. Considering the pattern, width and surroundingsof the road certain road categories can be maintained. Such as- streets for both pedestrians and vehicles, streets where motorized vehicles will be controlled as per time, especially during school time; one-way streets, streets for NMT and pedestrian and pedestrian-only zones.
HM Nurul Islam, Headmaster of Dhanmondi Kachikantha High School said, “We encourage the students of our school to walk. This saves money as well as ensure physical well-being and reduces environmental pollution. The participation of people from all walks of life is required to maintain a good walking environment in the area. Community residents, teachers and students should come forward in this regard. To improve the walking environment of Dhaka city, it is necessary to ensure coordination among relevant organizations.
Officials of Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust, teachers and students of Dhanmondi Kachikantha High School were also present in the event.