Published: Wednesday, 01 May 2013
DHAKA, APR 30: Both Dhaka and Delhi need scaling up of public transport, integrated multi-modal transport options, car restraint and walking for clean air, environmentalist said on Tuesday. Public transport, walking and cycling are the strengths to address air pollution. Pro-car policies can destroy these advantages and lead to enormous pollution, ill health and fuel wastage, they said. This was emerged out of at a workshop, organised by Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA), Work for a Better Bangladesh (WBB) Trust and New Delhi-based research and advocacy organisation, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) at the Senate Bhaban of Dhaka University.
The meeting was organised to find solutions to the daunting air pollution and mobility challenges of the cities. The dialogue unveiled the unique challenges and the emerging good practices to draw lessons for a roadmap for the region.
Among others, ALM Abdur Rahman, Chairman, Bangladesh Road Transport Authority, Maruf Rahhan, National Advocacy Officer of WBB Trust, Mahmood Hasan Khan, Director (Air Quality Management) of Department of Environment spoke at the programme.
Speaking on the occasion, CSE's Executive Director, Research and Advocacy Anumita Roy chowdhury said, "Most cities like Delhi, even while taking steps in meeting air quality challenges, are making terrible mistakes in promoting cars that negate their efforts. Dhaka is more fortunate. Its strength remains in its huge base of zero-emission non-motorised and sustainable public transport. It just has to recognise and act upon this immense advantage and strength."
Dhaka still has the chance to plan its future growth differently, Cities need to make maximum investment in redesigning their existing road space and travel pattern to provide the majority of the people (more than 90 per cent of people in Dhaka use public transport and non-motorised transport) affordable and efficient mode of public transport that can be an alternative to personal vehicles, Maruf Rahhan said.
Dhaka must build on its strength. Reducing personal vehicle usage, upgrading public transport, walking, cycling and leapfrogging vehicle technology are the key options left for us, he said.
Cities need to reduce dependence on cars integrating riding on bus, cycling, walking and para-transit systems as well as non-motorised transport, said Mahmood Hasan Khan.
Speakers of the programme recommended building pedestrian infrastructure, introducing a parking policy to reduce congestion, using tax measures to discourage personal vehicle usage, inefficient use of fuels and planning cities for people for sustainable transportation.