Inayah Huda: Drive Less, Walk More

Inayah is aged 16 and studying for her A Levels in Chemistry, Biology, Maths and Further Maths. She writes about current affairs that she is interested in, in relation to the local community.

Walking is great for your budget, your mind and body, but very importantly keeping the environment happier and greener.

Road transport is a major source of the noise and air pollution in the UK with around an alarming 28 million out of over 34 million road vehicles, being cars. Our dependency on cars has lead to congestion, poor air quality and has hugely contributed to exacerbating the already disturbing reality of climate change. Travelling by car and other vehicles has contributed to over a fifth of the total UK emissions of the harmful greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, a which is a key contributor to climate change. Moreover, air pollutants coming from these vehicles including toxic carbon monoxide, has a damaging impact on air quality as well as the health of people and animals. Without a doubt living in a busy, energetic city like London, every single one of us must hear the common sounds of car horns, doors slamming, tyre noise and squeaking brakes on a day to day basis, whether it's when travelling to school or at home with the window wide open. There's also that occasional deafeningly loud music playing from the sports car waiting in traffic, which not only incredibly irritates passers by but contributes to the already shocking amount of noise pollution, which affects over 30% of people in the UK currently and is on the rise.

Vehicle use impacts our entire local life quality, through traffic which can be dangerous and very intimidating for many, hence dividing up communities which may lead to street life becoming unpleasant.

What can we do as a community to solve this problem?

The simplest alternative is to avoid using the car, especially for short journeys, and walk. Walking not only strengthens your heart but delays or may even prevent certain illnesses and diseases. Moreover, it boosts the immune system and improves your self esteem and enhances your mood. Other benefits include: its role in controlling weight; relieving stress and worry, which are emotions we all experience regularly; giving you energy and more fresh air. It saves a great amount of money on petrol and is completely free. Many of us often underestimate the amount of time they spend travelling by car or any such vehicle, believing that a 15 minute journey takes less than five minutes, however the extra unavoidable time is never really taken into account by drivers. For example the time spent searching for our car keys; walking to and from the car park, with the occasional unfortunate panic when spotting a fine stuck on the car window; filling up the petrol tank and time spent waiting in traffic whilst watching those walking get to the final destination surprisingly faster, which is a situation I've been familiar with. Hence, walking may prove to be much faster in an abundance of cases.

Alternatively, you could ameliorate the quality of care for your vehicle by monitoring your fuel consumption, and with regular servicing your car should be kept more efficient and save petrol, hence save more money.

Keeping your speed steady and reducing the number of times you speed, if at all, will keep emissions low and ensure that the roads are a safer place for drivers and pedestrians, hence limiting the number of accidents that would occur due to drivers speeding.

More importantly, being more aware and considerate of those around you - both other vehicle drivers and pedestrians/passersby, by closing the windows, especially in residential or quieter areas where the noise would be more disturbing. Also, if you usually
have any music blasting loudly from the car stereo it may be a good idea to consider reducing it, so as to not irritate others.

A better more 'sociable' method to reduce the number of vehicles on the road, besides walking, would be to share your journey with a friend, neighbour or colleague.

Evidently, there are a great deal of alternatives to taking the car, principally walking which is not only exceedingly beneficial for your overall health and wellbeing but great for the environment!