Traffic-free day gets green light

Cardiff City Council have given the green light to a 'traffic free' day in the city centre. Is this a good idea and does it work?

Do you live in Cathays, Heath or near the city centre? Are you aware that you are inhaling carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and other hazardous air pollutants every day? Do you drive your car small distances on a daily basis? If so, then you are potentially contributing to the intoxication and pollution of Cardiff’s landscape and fellow beings.

With this in mind, Cardiff City Council have recently announced a ‘traffic free day’ throughout Cardiff city centre one day a year in order to reduce the devastating impacts of air pollution in the city. Knowing that tens of thousands of people die annually due to the impacts of air pollution, Cardiff’s councillors possess the hope that more cities will catch on to Cardiff’s attitude towards lowering levels of air and noise pollution.

Whilst air pollution rates are being assessed as ‘moderate’, recent years have proven that the rates of noise and light pollution within Cardiff City Centre have increased to a 75 per cent risk, which indeed advocates a cause for necessary action.

Councillor Richard Cook recently stated in an interview with ITV Wales that “vehicles would be prevented from coming into the centre of Cardiff, say perhaps from the Taff past the Castle, up to the Civic Centre. And those streets would be given over to the citizens of Cardiff to enjoy.”

On an international basis many cities such as London, Paris and Brussels have all contributed to the success and aim of decreasing the rates of air pollution, maintaining and promoting an eco-friendly society.

On September 20th 2015, Brussels Capitol region was entirely free of cars, between the hours of 9:30am-7pm. Whilst cars were denied access, public transport, such as buses, were still running in order to promote the use of these public facilities and to minimize the rates of pollution infusing the air.

Despite many citizens of Cardiff and London finding the latest announcement ‘tedious’ and ‘frustrating’, Cardiff Council hope that ‘Traffic-Free days’ will encourage the use of walking and cycling within the city centre to create an ever growing eco-friendly community. In addition to this, the Council have adopted an aim to create ‘food-for-thought’ about the harmful effects of pollution rather than making the assumption that the rate of pollution in Cardiff will never affect them. Many people are quite ignorant to the impact of emissions in their busy day-to-day lives.

Considering that many of the participating European cities are only pursuing this day for 24 hours a year, there can be no real reason why the ‘traffic free’ day in Cardiff city centre should have negative associations. Instead, the fact that communities are attempting to structure days in order to attempt to decrease the levels of pollution in city centres, should, in itself, be welcomed, in an attempt as it endeavours to become a more eco-friendly society.