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Hoi An locals back car-free campaign

Update: September, 10/2012 - 10:59

 

People cycle around the Old Quarter of Hoi An to help launch a Car-Free Day campaign, which has been funded by the Irish Embassy. The events drew around 5,000 participants. — VNS Photo Cong Thanh
DA NANG (VNS) — The central city of Hoi An yesterday launched its first Car Free Day campaign, coinciding with its annual Nature Day in which over 5,000 people participated.

The ancient city was the first city in Viet Nam to host a Car Free Day in an effort to make the environment in the tourism hub cleaner.

Participants rode on bicycles and pedicabs around the city's old quarter to raise awareness about environmental protection among local people and tourists.

"The campaign shows how committed local people are to environmental protection. The city has successfully organised a pedestrian street in the old quarter since 2002 and hosted the Nature Day for the past three years," said Hoi An City's People's Committee Deputy Chairman Nguyen Van Dung.

"We are honoured to be the first city in Viet Nam to join the Asian network of Car Free Day programmes. We also hope that the campaign will encourage people to use more environmentally friendly vehicles like bicycles and battery-powered bicycles and to walk more," Dung said.

Others who joined the launch were equally optimistic.

"I'm happy to join the Car Free Day campaign in Hoi An today," said Shinichi Mochizuki, National Co-ordinator for Japan of European Mobility Week and Car Free Day.

Tran Thi Duong from A Dong Silk company said most Vietnamese people are accustomed to using personal vehicles.

"The Car Free Day event was an ambitious action on the city's part, aiming at changing the pervasive reliance on motorbikes and cars. This needs time," Duong said, adding that nothing is impossible.

"The Nature Day, which began in the city three years ago, has helped Cham Island clear nylon bags, while walking streets in the old quarter have created a quiet and peaceful atmosphere for tourists," she said.

The Car Free Day, which was debuted in La Rosshelle in France in 1997, has attracted the participation of 2,268 cities in 40 countries.

The city also set up 13 sites where people can change used nylon bags for new reusable bags in an action to say no to plastic bags.

"I'm aware of the environmental protection efforts. The city residents have joined hands in keeping the city free from smoke and plastic bags. I prefer to use cloth bag for daily shopping rather than plastic bags because it helps me limit household rubbish," said Tran Thi Thu Ha, a resident of Tran Phu street.

A painting contest for children was held at An Hoi bridge yesterday as part of the response to Car Free Day. — VNS

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