The environment minister is encouraging Romanians to leave their cars at home one day a week in a bid to raise environmental awareness.
Minister Tanczos Barna said on Wednesday that the “Green Friday” initiative would lead to a substantial reduction in air pollution in cities currently caused by heavy traffic.
Motorists can exchange their cars for public transport such as the subway, trams and buses which cause less pollution.
The goal is to get one in four public employees to choose an alternative form of transport on Fridays.
There has been less traffic during the pandemic as many employees are working remotely and not using their car to drive to the office.
But officials are still concerned about rising levels of air pollution in cities.
“Green Friday … is a civic initiative the ministry is launching because there is a lot of pressure on the surrounding environment and everyone has a carbon footprint that we leave from our daily activity.”
“More than 60% of air pollution in big cities is down to traffic and neither Bucharest nor the other cities are an exception,” saying the only solution was to reduce traffic.
“Green Friday is a voluntary initiative for people to give up their cars on Fridays and opt for less polluting means of traffic, such as bicycles, electric scooters, walking, or public transport.’”
There are plans for half of public workers to leave their cars at home on Fridays in the next three years.
To encourage the initiative, he said he would talks to mayors and local authorities to lay on free public transport on Fridays.
The minister said he’d already tested the plan and had traveled to work on the subway and the bus.
“The last time I used a bus was when I was a student 25 years ago,” he said. “It will be a change for every institution and more than that it will be a change in mentality for everyone
“It was a bit strange for me to come on the bus because I hadn’t done it for a long time and I had to figure out where to buy a ticket, what the routes etc were as I didn’t remember the bus numbers from my student days.”