'Promote environmentally sustainable transport'
Promoting environmentally sustainable transport (EST) is a must to mitigate adverse environmental and health impact in the city, said the speakers at a national workshop and policy dialogue yesterday.
The EST includes non-motorised vehicles, bicycles, pedestrianisation schemes and vehicles with less emission of pollutants, they added.
Held at Hotel Sheraton Winter Garden in the city, the workshop was organised jointly by the United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Department of Environment with the support of SIDA, GTZ and the Japanese environment ministry.
Experts at the workshop said continuous increase in the number of motorised vehicles in Asia is one of the major factors behind the growing problem of air pollution.
With the expansion of urbanisation, the city has seen an unprecedented growth in motorisation, which led to severe emission, road accidents and traffic congestions, they added.
The speakers said motor transport is the second largest source of Greenhouse gases in the world.
They said developing countries are likely to be the largest sources of transport sector emissions in the world within 2010.
Air pollution also causes numerous health hazards, they said, adding that infants and children are the most vulnerable to air pollutants.
The speakers said the EST such as non-motorised vehicle is not only environmentally friendly but also the cheapest mode of transport.
It is also the safest, as it has less road accident possibility and does not create pollution-related health hazards, they added.
Speaking as chief guest Air Vice Marshal (retd) AK Khandaker BU, minister for planning, said, “For implementing the National Strategic Transport Plan in an environmentally sound and sustainable manner, integration of environmental issues into transport planning is a must.”
Hasan Mahmud, state minister for foreign affairs, said the potentiality of public transport systems such as railways and waterways has never been explored.
Both the systems can provide environmentally friendly as well as cheapest facilities, he added.
Md Mostafizar Rahman, state minister for environment and forest, said, “ The EST is no longer an option, but a necessity for ensuring a healthy, clean and safe living environment for our future generation.”
Kazunobu Onogawa, director of UNCRD, Stefan Priesner, country director of UNDP, CRC Mohanty of UNCRD, ASM Ali Kibria, secretary to communication ministry, Dr Mihir Kanti Majumder, secretary to environment ministry, and Nojibur Rahman, director general of environment department also spoke.