President Kagame joins thousands of Rwandans in marking Car-Free Day

President Paul Kagame on Sunday joined thousands of Rwandans on the streets of Kigali to mark the Car-Free Day, a bi-monthly event meant to encourage people to exercise and take up green energy.

The Car-Free Day was introduced in May 2016, prohibiting the use of cars in certain parts of the capital for one day.

Residents are allowed into the closed streets to jog, run and even ride bicycles.

While launching the Car-Free Day in 2016, the government of Rwanda said the move was prompted by a need to encourage exercise and promote green transport, thereby reducing carbon emission by motor vehicles.

Following Rwanda’s success in introducing the Car-Free Day, other countries have also mulled taking up the idea, including Kenya.

A World Car-Free Day is also celebrated worldwide every year around September 22, encouraging motorists to give up their cars for a day.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Car-Free Days are a massive opportunity for cities to realize how much pollution affects lives.

Vehicle emissions are one of the main sources of outdoor air pollution, particularly in cities. Ambient air pollution alone caused some 4.2 million deaths in 2016, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Transport is also the fastest growing source of fossil-fuel CO2 emissions, the largest contributor to climate change.

All around the world, countries use the Car-Free Days to champion for environment friendly means of transport: From races for alternative-energy powered vehicles in Budapest, to horse-riding in São Paulo, to street picnics in Vienna, to running in Jakarta.

Here are some of the pictures from President Kagame’s involvement in Sunday’s Car-Free Zone in Kigali;

[Photos courtesy of Rwanda Presidency]