ISLAMABAD – Cycling culture offers a healthy option for residents to ward off the bad impact of auto emissions and climate change which is silently and persistently affecting human health, particularly in the twin cities, that had been serene and full green in the 70s and 80s.

Ibrar Shinwari, Chairman Department of Environment Sciences of International Islamic University Islamabad specifically pointed out that travelling-cum-exercise mode eventually ensures the good impact on the environment besides providing an inexpensive mean of mobility to citizens.

The specific activity would help bring down the temperature by 2 degree Celsius by alleviating the emission of lethal gases in the air, he added.

He emphasized to designate cycling area on each artery of the federal capital to encourage cyclists. He underlined the need to arrange cycling competitions among students of different educational institutions besides promoting the use of cycling among citizens.

Uzma Saeed, an environmentalist, sharing her experience in European countries, said she witnessed a large number of bicycles on the roads for which lanes had been specified. “We should specify the lanes first; then go for the awareness,” she added.

She urged the youth to opt for cycling like a large part of the country’s population consisted of youngsters. “If we manage to turn 10 motorists to be bicycle-users a month, it may help in bringing back the pleasant weather of Islamabad that did entice tourists in late 70s and 80s,” she added.

Some residents also demanded adding a cycling lane along each road of the Margalla city for cyclists. They said it would definitely promote the healthy activity, besides ensuring the safety of the public.

“The cycling trend has vanished across the country during the past some decades due to the availability of cars and buses,” said Ali Ahmed, a student of Master of Science.

He pointed out the unprecedented popularity gained by the ride-sharing services within a short span of time, did indicate that the public had been less concerned about their health by unintentionally ignoring this pro-health activity.

Ali said, “I still ride the bicycle to university and plan to continue for the sake of my own health.”

Shayan Saeed, another student of an intermediate of Rawalpindi Waqar u Nisa College, suggested that cycling was a better option for teenage students who had to manage daily affairs with meagre resources. “We, the youth, must encourage this mode of transportation by keeping in mind the climate change factor,” he added.

Dr Shafeeq, a cardiologist told APP that every fourth, out of 10, was a victim of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular and diabetes that had somehow become a perplexing issue for medical fraternity.

Stressing exercise to avoid chronic ailments, he said, “Cycling is one of the best forms of aerobic exercises that help to burn extra calories, improving metabolism, and balancing blood sugar level.”

Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) spokesperson said the use of the bicycle was no more in vogue that needs to be promoted through awareness campaigns. The ITP’s education unit was fully cooperating with some private organisations and providing assistance in their activities with regard to such campaigns, he added.

A CDA official said that the cycling-lanes were added to three major roads, including Margalla Road, Constitution Avenue and Seventh Avenue under Islamabad Green Charter Programme two years ago.

He admitted that the Mayor had vowed to introduce these lanes at the major road, but it could be not carried out due to the paucity of funds.