LEGAZPI CITY, 24Nov2013 (PNA) – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Bicol regional office here enjoined the public to go back to the basic in their mode of transportation–bicycle–saying that motor vehicles are the primary cause of pollution.
“If we are given the authority to call the shots over roads, we will be happy to see more bicycles than cars on every route,” Roberto Sheen, the regional technical director of the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) based at the Regional Government Center here, on Saturday said.
Sheen said this at the starting line on Legazpi Boulevard of the 20-kilometer fun-cycling event dubbed sa “Pidal Para sa Gabos Para sa Malinig na Paros (Bike For All, For Clean Air) Part 2” organized by EMB to cap the observance of the National Clean Air Month this year.
The agency stressed on the public the use of bicycle as an efficient, environmentally-friendly and healthy mode of transport.
The event also aims to educate the public about the environmental benefits of biking by reducing emissions for cleaner air and raise their awareness of the Clean Air Act of 1999, the anti-smoke belching campaign and actions to reduce emissions, Sheen said.
It was not a racing event but prizes were given to winning participants in various odd categories such as the wearing of eye-catching outfits to represent different professions such as doctor’s garb, religious habit, police, military and school uniforms or even animal costumes and designs that depict the theme, Usok Mo, Buhay Ko (Your Smoke, My Life).
Special awards were also given to participating teams with most number of riding members, oldest rider, youngest rider, unique bicycle, best dressed rider and “early birds.”
“We encouraged the participants to register as a team with three or more members to emphasize the spirit of working together for cleaner air,” Sheen said.
Another unique feature of the event is the pit stop challenge which required participants to finish a task and answer questions in every pit stop to collect a token.
The event was participated in by about 500 bicycle hobbyists from all over Albay who recognize that the physical exercise gained from cycling is generally linked with increased health and well-being.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), physical inactivity is second only to tobacco smoking as a health risk in developed countries and this is associated with many tens of billions of dollars of healthcare costs.
The WHO report suggests that increasing physical activity is a public health “best buy” and that cycling is a “highly suitable activity” for this purpose.
It also said that investment in cycling provision can give a 20:1 return from health and other benefits.
It has been estimated that, on the average, approximately 20 life-years are gained from the health benefits of road bicycling for every life-year lost through injury.
Bicycles are often used by people seeking to improve their fitness and cardiovascular health. In this regard, cycling is especially helpful to those with arthritis of the lower limbs who are unable to pursue sports that cause impact to the knees and other joints.
Since cycling can be used for the practical purpose of transportation, there can be less need for self-discipline to exercise.
Jory Los Baños, a bicycle avid here, said cycling is a very effective and efficient mode of transportation optimal for short to moderate distances.
Bicycles provide numerous benefits in comparison with motor vehicles, including the sustained physical exercise necessarily involved in cycling, that cycling involves a reduced consumption of fossil fuels, less air or noise pollution, much reduced traffic congestion, easier parking, greater maneuverability and access to both roads and paths, he said.
According to Sheen, bicycles were introduced in the 19th century and now number about one billion worldwide and the principal means of transportation in many parts of the world, especially in daily commuting as well as in a commercial activity, mainly to transport goods, mostly accomplished in an urban environment.
He said the postal services of many countries have long relied on bicycles.
The British Royal Mail first started using bicycles in 1880.
Now bicycle delivery fleets include 37,000 in the UK, 25,700 in Germany, 10,500 in Hungary and 7,000 in Sweden.
The London Ambulance Service has recently introduced bicycling paramedics, who can often get to the scene of an incident in Central London more quickly than a motorized ambulance.
Late in the 20th century, urban police bicycles became more common, as the mobility of car-borne officers was increasingly limited by traffic congestion and pedestrianization.
Bicycles enjoy substantial use as general delivery vehicles in many countries. In the United Kingdom and North America, as their first jobs, generations of teenagers have worked at delivering newspapers by bicycle, he added.(PNA)