Car Free Day on 22 September is an individual and collective reflection on car use in the city and part of an approach to promote a greener and sustainable mobility. Each participating city is compelled to limit traffic in a given area and provide benefits for alternative transport. It is, therefore, a pedagogical proposal, and a chance for dialogue, whose main purpose may not be other than changing the prevailing car-culture.
With this celebration ends the European Mobility Week every year. Hundreds of cities are closing streets to cars in favour of pedestrians and cyclists in order to raise public awareness about the damage caused by the use of private transport (air pollution, noise, etc.), to stress the rights of pedestrians and cyclists, to promote the need for more and better public transport and to encourage European cities to invest in new infrastructure required to share the streets more efficiently.
Today, transport is responsible for over one third of the greenhouse gases and if we want to combat climate change we must change the way we move. Although the most polluting transport is the plane, – an airplane flight emits the equivalent to one year of car – our short daily movements in private cars are the main responsible for the quality of the air Europeans breathe exceeding the pollution limits set by the European Union and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Therefore, at Sinplástico we believe that these awareness campaigns, albeit necessary to modify the prevailing ideas on mobility, are not really effective if they are not accompanied not only by an individual and collective commitment, but also by a policy that stimulates pedestrians, cyclists and public transport along with legislation to discourage and restrict private vehicles in our cities.