Panaji Mayor endorses the initiative with a pledge to create inclusive streets
Goakhabar: As the sky turned blue this Sunday morning, Panaji citizens came together in huge numbers to participate in WWF-India’s ‘One Planet Streets for All’, to take a stand for the cause of having inclusive streets and adopting sustainable modes of commuting. This public event was held in partnership with Corporation of The City of Panaji, supported by ICLEI-South Asia to raise awareness and gather support for adopting smarter and greener choices of commute, whilst making the roads more inclusive for the benefit and safety of all road users.
Mobility accounts for about 25% of the global energy related CO2 emissions, with much of this occurring in cities. Therefore, mobility sector plays an important role in lowering the carbon emissions to avoid the impacts of climate change.
Goa is one of the states with the highest car ownership density in the country hence; shifting to sustainable modes of transportation becomes even more crucial. However, sustainable urban mobility requires a mind shift: where private motorized vehicles give way to sustainable transport modes and better lifestyle choices, including public transport, cycling, walking or car-pooling.
Panaji aims to reduce community level emissions by 19% by 2019 from 2013 levels, with a strong focus on expanding its sustainable mobility infrastructure and raising community awareness.
The cyclothon was flagged off and led by Shri Vithal Dayanand Chopdekar, Mayor of the Corporation of City of Panaji and saw participation from people across Panaji, eager to adopt eco-friendly practices in their daily lives and inspire positive action for the planet.
Speaking at the event, Shri Vithal Dayanand Chopdekar, Mayor of the Corporation of City of Panaji said, “This is a great initiative and Corporation of the City of Panaji is happy to be a part of it. We understand the need for walking and cycling spaces in the city as part of the Smart City initiative. We will endeavor to encourage this initiative and request more citizens, especially children to contribute to this cause and make our city pollution-free.”
Speaking about this initiative, Dr. Suchismita Mukhopadhyay, Associate Director at WWF-India said, “It is important for citizens to make smart mobility choices in their daily lives. Simple individual lifestyle choices such as taking public transport, cycling and walking for shorter trips or even car-pooling can help decongest the roads, reduce pollution and address climate change.”
Apart from the Cyclothon, the event witnessed participation of the citizens in other activities like Ashtanga Yoga session by Geetanjali, heritage walk along the Mandovi – by Charles Correa Foundation and Noah Fernandes, karate demonstration by students of Sensei Joseph Rodrigues, self defence workshop for ladies as well as, Books Snakes & Ladder Game by Bookworm, Sustainable Mobility Game – Move n Seek by incollab, etc. Celebrating the ethos of the WWF-India’s Give Up to Give Back initiative, the event asked people to make sustainable lifestyle choices in their lives, like cycling, walking and carpooling, whenever possible and come forward and take pledges to Give Up on unsustainable practices.
The “One Planet Streets for All” is WWF-India’s initiative to promote sustainable mobility as part of its One Planet City Challenge platform. First established in WWF-Sweden in 2011, the challenge (earlier named the Earth Hour City Challenge) aims to mobilize action and support from cities in the transition towards a climate friendly future and demonstrates how sustainable cities can be a hub for creativity, ambition and innovation in climate action. In addition to the regular engagement with the cities, the initiative also looks at a deeper engagement with the citizens for awareness generation and mobilizing action.
The city of Panaji joined the One Planet City Challenge in 2013, which was first introduced in India in 2012, and has seen participation of 24 cities since then. In this year’s challenge, Panaji is amongst the 3 Indian finalists from a pool of 40 finalists out of the 118 cities across 23 countries. It is now competing for the title of National and Global Winner. Panaji will also participate in OPCC’s public campaign called, “We Love Cities”, which aims to inspire and engage citizens for support as well as sharing ideas for improvement. The WLC campaign shall run from 7th May – 30the June 2018 on the We Love Cities campaign page and across social media platforms- Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.