• Tuesday, Nov 12, 2019
  • Last Update : 01:41 am

Transportation Efficiency

  • Published at 12:52 pm May 2nd, 2019
caarpol
Photo : Courtesy

A discussion to reduce fossil fuel dependency

One of the main pollutants responsible for climate change is carbon dioxide. Because of the excessive use of fossil fuels, climate change is now a burning issue. Humans are responsible for anthropogenic climate change. One of the reasons is the excessive use of cars in our day to day lives, carbon dioxide from the combustion of car fuels are accumulating in the atmosphere.

Bangladesh is still a developing country. For this very reason many other alternatives, such as hydrogen fuel cells and electric cars are very difficult to import to Bangladesh. Thus the most approachable methods for the reduction of car use are carpooling, bicycling and public transport.

Sharing rides, healthier lives

Carpooling is where a car is shared by many to travel from one location to another. This approach is especially helpful for people living in the same neighbourhood or sector. But how do we implement this? The idea goes like this: if say there are 4 students (A, B, C, D) who live in the same sector and go to the same school. All of the 4 students gather together and select a place that is near to all of their houses. Then on the first day, student A takes his car and picks up the 3 students and goes to school. On the next day student B gives the ride and so on.

The other approach is public transports. These vehicles will aim to carry a lot of passengers for long distances. In countries such as Singapore, most people use MRTs or buses to go to the destinations. This is mainly due to many people considering their cars a luxury rather than a necessity.

The third approach is bicycling or walking, useful for destinations which are nearby. Bicycling is not only eco-friendly but also good for exercising and mental health. Many countries provide biking lanes in their roads to motivate bicycling.

But how does this help the climate?

Firstly the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by per car is reduced. For the school analogy, instead of 4 cars, only 1 went to school. Thus if a lot of people do carpool then that small number can add to a very large significant number.

Secondly, it reduces traffic congestion. When public transports and carpooling are done, fewer cars will on the roads.

Thirdly, when there is a smaller amount of vehicles on the road, there are fewer loads on the road. Thus the fuels burned by machinery to repair roads are also reduced. The cost of repairing the roads can be used to build new infrastructure and replace old public transport with more efficient public transportation.

How can we implement it?

For these ideas to work people have to work with joint hands. The Government should make legislation that encourages the use of public transport, carpooling and bicycling. The local authorities will have to ensure that this legislation is followed accordingly.

For example, a monthly survey could be conducted to gather information on the amount of fuel consumed by private cars. The media also have a role to play. They should create awareness of climate change and persuade the audience to follow the ideas.

Confronting the hurdles

However, with every idea, there are also challenges. The first is that Bangladesh is still not as economically developed as many developed countries. That is why it would not be possible for the Government to replace also the inefficient public transport at once.

Instead, they can take on annual projects that will target specific routes. In other words, the government can take a specific route in the first year, say the Uttara to Mirpur route, and replace all of the public transport with updated models. And progressively, they can aim for another route the next year and so on.

“…we lose weight and stay fit, we also saved our car fuel for a whole month!”

People will always be reluctant to take the first step. However, I would like to give my own experience to prove that everyone can make a change. In January, I had convinced my father to walk me to school on that month. So every day my father and I walked to school and after dropping me off, he comes back to Rajlokkhi take his office’s car.

Interestingly, my father shared the car with many of his colleagues to go to his office every day. My mother walked to my school and picked me up. Except for using Uber to go to Jahangir Nagar University for a few time, none of us used the car for the whole of January. In the end not only did we lose weight and stay fit, we also saved our car fuel for a whole month!

So what did I learn from my experience? Instead of comparing our country and blaming it for all it lacks, we must take the first steps in building our country. In fact, did you know China was way behind us in the 20th century? Now, however, they are one of the most influential countries of the 21st century. Instead of continuing the ‘blame game’ we all must work together to build up our own nation. Always remember one man can make a huge difference.

Tasnim Enam is a student at Aga Khan School, Dhaka. She received a 2nd runner up award from the school/college category in the Green Genius Competition.