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On 22nd September, the whole length of the Andrássy Street in Budapest transformed into the location of a series of events for the entire day. Joining the world’s biggest environmental protection movement’s programme, the European Mobility Week, sustainable city mobility was in the limelight, but at the same time, reading and technical development as a possible advantage of using public transportation got an important role as well. Between the Oktogon and Bajza Street, a variety of transport-related interactive programmes were offered to the public and organisations that presented themselves included the Budapesti Közlekedési Központ (BKK), MÁV, the Ministry of National Development (NFM) as well as the Volánbusz. At their respective stalls, the visitors – young and old as well - could get information about safe transportation and sustainable city life.
The first Car Free Day was held in 1997 in France. The purpose of the initiative was to encourage city-dwellers who would normally use their cars to forget about their vehicles for a day and try out alternative means of transportation. The European Committee declared the event – which is normally held on 22nd September – a European initiative. Hungary has participated in the programme since the beginning: in Budapest, the Car Free Day has been held for 12 consecutive years and further good news is that the number of registered Hungarian locations has broken the previous years’ records this year. Altogether, 115 councils expressed their interest in participating and with this, we are in the third place after Spain and Austria! The councils that organize a Car Free Day or celebrate the Mobility Week express their commitment towards the well-being of its citizens, their standard of life, equality in transportation and safety.
Clean air is at the centre of the European Union’s Environmental Protection policy in 2013, which was entitled „The Year of the Air”. The European Environment Agency (EEA) shares a lot of information that promote the necessity of the supervision of laws regarding air pollution. According to surveys published by the EEA, air pollution continues to pose a massive concern for public health and the environment. You can also do a lot for the clean air! If you can, leave your car at home! If you still need to use your car, fill up all the spaces and try to find people travelling the same route so that you can travel together instead of using five different cars. If the weather is good, go for a walk or get on your bike! Choose public transportation instead of traffic jams, expensive petrol and air pollution! If you have the opportunity, plant a tree! Somewhere, anywhere! Did you know that nothing is as protective against noise as vegetation? Moreover, trees and bushes clean the air and produce clean oxygen!
One litre of petrol produces more than 2 kilograms of carbon dioxide! In 2005, for example, only in Europe, more than 350.000 people and in Hungary, 16.000 people died because of the polluted air. In 2002, the carbon dioxide emission of the world was more than 35.000 ton from fossil carbon, oil and gas. The figures are terrifying! The good news is that in recent years, Europe has made a huge progress in reducing the emission of substances that are harmful for the air. This is, among others, thanks to the legislation of the European Union as well as the wider use of fuels containing less sulfur.
Translated by Judit Molnár