A car-less day in Metro Cebu? Why not, since last time we checked dreams are free in our nearly free-wheeling democracy.
How it is going to be enforced is something else entirely. Would motorists be willing to stay at home or use mass transport to go to work or school or to the malls, restaurants, playgrounds and other recreational destinations?
The call for a car-less day was recently made by the regional office of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) in order to reduce air pollution in Metro Cebu, which they described as still well within manageable levels.
Owing to the large number of public utility vehicles (PUVs) and privately owned cars, air quality will naturally be compromised especially with the smoke-belchers out there who remain scot-free on the road despite the presence of traffic aides and police.
Speaking of which, we wonder if the EMB had coordinated with land transport agencies in monitoring and cracking down on smoke-belchers, and if so, how many violators have been penalized?
Not many, it is presumed, but still, air quality remains manageable and we can only be so thankful for small graces. But better air quality obviously isn’t just one of the many benefits of having a car-less day as pointed out above.
Car-less days mean only mass transport will be available on the road as well as the significantly fewer bicyclists, skateboarders and motorcycle riders allowed to travel through the streets.
Only those used to the country’s balmy hot weather, which takes up at least four to six months of the year depending on whether it is El Niño or La Niña, as well as the bicycle and motorcycle riders and skateboarders can adjust and get by with the car-less days.
Passenger jeepney drivers and other PUV drivers will be most happy with a car-less day since a lot of them often blame the rising number of motorists for the heavy traffic congestion and avoid responsibility for their own actions on the road, which they can have for themselves at least in one day.
Still, the rationale and need for a car-less day is about as beneficial as those annual Earth Hour observances which, while useful in cutting down energy consumption for one day, had yet to be fully evaluated in terms of how it impacts on overall global energy consumption every year.
If there would be a car-less day, advocates should obviously prioritize the comfort and convenience of the commuters, who can be persuaded to support the initiative provided there is a reliable mass transport system in place, which would probably be completed years from now.
In preparation for an eventual car-less day, the government should ensure that existing PUV drivers and motorists check their vehicles to see if they still comply with existing standards for smoke discharges.
A car-less day is achievable, but the groundwork should be laid out before it is enforced and realized.
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