World Car Free Day, which is commended on September 22, urges drivers to surrender their vehicles for a day. Coordinated occasions are held in certain urban areas and nations. The occasions, which differ by area, give drivers and workers a thought of their territory with less vehicles. This way one day a year is saved to attempt and abstaining from utilizing vehicles and cycling, strolling/ walking or utilizing public vehicle is considered.

The first car-free Sundays in the Netherlands and Belgium were held in 1956. From November 25, 1956, until January 20, 1957, every Sunday was car-free. World Car Free Day was gradually and sporadically observed around the world until September 22nd was established as the permanent date.

Background and Importance of Cars

A car, as a mode of transportation, has come a long way. Cars have an interesting history in addition to their use. It dates back to January 29, 1886 when Carl Benz filed a patent application for his "gas-powered car”. So earlier accounts attributed the invention of the first genuine vehicle to Karl Benz of Germany.

People's personal freedom and access to jobs and services increased with the invention of the automobile. It resulted in the construction of improved roads and transportation. To meet the demand for automobile parts and fuel, industries and new jobs sprouted up. Petroleum and gasoline were among the first, followed by rubber and plastics. For more than a century, automobiles have provided dependable transportation, revolutionizing travel. They paved the way for suburban development and made it possible for vacationers to travel from coast to coast.

Environmental Disadvantages of Cars

Many people find it difficult to imagine life without a car. However, all of this mobility has come at a cost to the environment.

Water Pollution:

Automobiles contaminate waterways in a variety of ways.

  • Vehicle fluids,
  • Brake dust,
  •  Deicing agents, and
  •  Oil discharge
  •  Another way is through leaking gas station pumps.
  • Ground water contamination is also caused by improper motor oil disposal.

Air Pollution: 

  • Automobiles are responsible for 
  • 34% of nitrogen dioxide emissions
  • 51% of carbon monoxide,
  •  10% of particulate, and
  • 33% of carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Acid rain is caused by nitrogen dioxide, which promotes algae development.
  • Particulate matter, commonly known as soot, contributes to haze and pollutes groundwater.
  • Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that can kill you in big concentrations and cause headaches, shortness of breath, and nausea in small doses.
  • CO2 is a significant factor to global warming.

Solid Waste:

When a car is not being driven, its environmental impact still continues. Every year, almost ten million cars are scrapped. Around 25% of these automobiles are not recycled and wind up in landfills. Every year, hundreds of millions of tires are discarded.

Cars also account for land space use, energy use and noise pollution.

Aim of Car-Free Day:

Car Free Day is celebrated in a variety of ways in cities around the world, with the common goal of reducing the number of cars on the road. A day with less traffic congestion, a greener environment, and lower petroleum demand will benefit society as a whole. In order to limit pollution to some extent, World Car Free Day was established to educate the public about the necessity of a better environment free of automobiles and the fact that life can go on with fewer automobiles.

Effectiveness of Car Free Day:

The benefits of going car-free for a day are clear: the inaugural "journée sans voiture" (day without a car), held in Paris in 2015, resulted in a 40% reduction in exhaust emissions. Last year, diverting traffic away from the marathon route in London reduced local air pollution by up to 89 percent.

Cities gain from car-free days in a variety of ways, according to research. This includes:

  • Reduced traffic congestion and wasted time,
  • Fewer car accidents, and
  • Lower noise and air pollution.
  • Days without a car promote social connection and physical activity.

About the Author: Iman Haroon is presently a Bachelor Student of Environmental Science at the Government College Women University, Sialkot. She's a green blogger who has volunteered to write for TENL to raise environmental awareness.