Kenya Set to Introduce Car Free Days to Limit Pollution

A traffic jam observed in Nairobi Central Business District.
Motorists stuck in a traffic jam inside Nairobi Central Business District
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Through a Senate Order Paper dated December 5, nominated Senator Crystal Asige introduced a motion to ban private cars from Nairobi and other urban centres across the country on select days. 

The Designation of a Monthly Car Free Day and County Car Free Zones motion seeks to limit pollution emitted by vehicles.

In the motion, Senator Asige remarked that the measure will ensure that Kenyans have access to a clean and healthy environment as envisioned by Article 42 of the Constitution. 

The parliamentarian argued that according to the National Climate Action Plan, transport has been identified as the fourth largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. 

Nominated Senator Crystal Asige taking oath of office on October 5, 2022
Nominated Senator Crystal Asige taking the oath of office on October 5, 2022.
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Senate

Should action not be taken, Asige reckons that it will result in the negative impact of Climate Change that will affect millions of Kenya. 

Additionally, the Senator noted that the number of private vehicles has significantly grown leading to increased road accidents, carbon emission and vehicle congestion costs. 

“The Senate urges the Ministry of Roads and Transport, in collaboration with the Council of Governors, and the National Climate Change Council to identify, publicise and execute suitable monthly car-free days and County car-free zones in urban areas,” the Motion reads in part. 

The aforementioned government bodies will further be tasked with providing affordable and efficient public transport.  

One of the ways Kenyans will access Nairobi City during the car-free days will be through Bus Rapid Transport (BRT).

Asige further advises that as the government develops BRT, Kenyans be encouraged to use electric hybrid buses. 

“Design an infrastructure that can support non–motorised transport facilities such as pedestrian and bicycle access within urban centres,” Asige further advised county and national governments. 

Relevant government bodies have also been asked to ensure inter-modal connectivity among the various transport modes during the implementation of the directive. 

Several countries observe a car-free day annually on September 22, where people are encouraged to give up their vehicles and use non-motorised transport, like biking, skating or walking. 

Additionally, East African Countries Uganda and Ethiopia have adopted monthly car-free days. 

A Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) station under construction along Thika Road at Safari Park footbridge
A Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) station under construction along Thika Road at Safari Park footbridge
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KeNHA
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