Category Archives: environment

Activists: Car-Free Days Are ‘A Waste’

Environmental activists on Monday urged the Jakarta Administration to temporarily halt its car-free days on selected city roads, saying a re-evaluation was needed because the event had failed to reduce air pollution and loose regulations have resulted in many violations, including those by senior officials.

“Legally, the car-free days cannot be stopped, but the city administration should halt them temporarily and conduct a review of what went wrong. Honestly, it’s been such a waste,” Selamet Daroyni, the executive director of the Jakarta branch of Indonesian Forum for the Environment, or Walhi, told a press conference.

Selamet said car-free days, generally on Sundays, had failed to achieve the short-term objective of minimizing air pollution and also had failed to encourage Jakarta residents to be more environmentally friendly and less dependent on cars.

“If we perceive this issue from the three success indicators, I’d say these events did not help much,” Selamet said.

He said the indicators were public participation, air pollution reduction and public obedience, including by government officials and law enforcers.

Ahmad Safrudin, of the Committee for Phasing Out Leaded Gasoline, said car-free days merely relocated traffic flow from one place to another without reducing air pollutants.

He said that a report by the Jakarta Environmental Management Board, or BPLHD, that air pollution has decreased significantly was unreliable.

“Jakarta has five air quality monitoring systems, but only one of them is working, so I doubt the report,” he said.

Ahmad said the inefficiency of car-free days had been proven by many violations, with some of the violators being government officials and policemen.

Responding to criticism, Rina Suryani, the BPLHD head of natural resources monitoring, said they had scientific measurements to prove that car-free days had in fact contributed significantly to air pollution reduction.

“In some parts of Jakarta, the air quality has gotten better because of this program,” she said.

Rina said the board could not enforce sanctions against violators because the 2005 bylaw enabling car-free days had not stipulated any.

Jakarta’s car-free days began in September 2007 and are held on the last Sunday of each month.

This year BPLHD has scheduled 22 road closure events.

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February 23, 2009, by Dessy Sagita


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Indooroopilly station goes green

The new-look Indooroopilly station.

The new-look Indooroopilly station.

January 12, 2009 – 11:19AM

Indooroopilly Train Station has been named the city’s first “green” transport hub following a $26.5 million revamp that includes a rainwater tank and solar panels.

The new-look rail station in Brisbane’s inner-west was officially unveiled yesterday and features a range of eco-friendly design elements.

It is the first station on the urban rail network to use solar panels, which feed electricity back into the power grid, and also includes a rainwater tank for toilets.

Minister for Infrastructure and Planning Paul Lucas said the Translink-funded design maximises the use of natural lighting and cross-ventilation.

Indooroopilly is the busiest station outside of the CBD and caters for an average of 1700 passengers during each peak-hour travel period, Mr Lucas said.

“It’s hard to remember what the station looked like before the upgrade – it is now much safer and easier to access for all passengers,” he said.

A 250-metre art mural, produced by students from several local schools, added to the station’s aesthetic appeal, he said. More than 280 new plants were also used around the station.

The design includes a revamped concourse level, three lifts, a set of stairs and a new-look subway linking Coonan Street and Railway Avenue.

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Texas State Bicycle Survey Reveals Danger Concerns, Cycling Perceptions

Chandra Bhat poses with bicycles at The University of Texas. (Credit: Photo By: Beverly Barrett)

ScienceDaily ( Dec. 15, 2008 ) — Bicyclists in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio are more concerned with being involved in vehicle crashes compared to bicyclists in other Texas cities, according to a survey conducted by the Center for Transportation Research at The University of Texas at Austin.

“This is quite intuitive, given the high levels of traffic congestion in Houston, Dallas and San Antonio,” said Professor Chandra Bhat, who spearheaded the survey and is one of the world’s foremost authorities on travel behavior.

In addition, almost 70 percent of the survey respondents feel bicycling is “very dangerous” or “somewhat dangerous” in terms of traffic accidents. In contrast, only 21 percent of respondents feel bicycling is “somewhat dangerous” or “very dangerous” in the context of crime.

The survey, sponsored by the Texas Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration, was conducted entirely online. The results should help establish planning guidelines for the design of safe and efficient bicycle facilities and environments in Texas and around the country.

Respondents were 18 years or older living in more than 100 Texas cities. The sample included 1,605 bicyclists, of which 810 (or slightly more than 50 percent) used their bikes for commuting. The remaining 795 bicycled only for non-commuting purposes. Each group was presented with questions pertaining to their particular habits.

Bhat said the transportation sector accounts for about one-third of all human-generated greenhouse gas emissions. Within that sector, travel by personal vehicles accounts for nearly two-thirds of those emissions. And only 0.9 percent of all trips in the United States are made by bicycle, and the number drops to 0.4 percent for commute trips — despite the fact that a significant amount of trips are deemed short-distance and can be made using a bike. A 2001 National Household Travel Survey revealed that 41 percent of all trips in 2001 were shorter than two miles and 28 percent were shorter than one mile.

Bhat’s research attempts to understand the reasons for the low bicycling use and inform the development of appropriate and effective strategies to increase bicycling, thereby cutting down motorized vehicle use and carbon dioxide emissions while promoting a healthier, more physically active lifestyle.

One finding that may have immediate relevance is that individuals who have a more positive perception of the quality of bicycle facilities have a higher propensity to bicycle to work. In October, Congress passed the Bicycle Commuter Act (as part of the bailout package), which starting in January will give companies a tax credit of up to $20 a month per employee who bicycles to work.

However, only about 14 percent of commuter bicyclists report the presence of bicycle lockers or safe storage rooms at their work place, and 72 percent of commuter bicyclists indicate they travel on unsigned roadways during their commute.

“The frequency and use of bicycling to work can potentially be increased by having bicycle lockers, bicycle racks and showers at work,” Bhat said.

He also said two other viable ways to increase bicycling include: land-use strategies to encourage compact developments to reduce commute distances and education/information campaigns to highlight the environmental, financial and health benefits of bicycling.

Bhat and his graduate students, Ipek Sener and Naveen Eluru,will present this research at the National Transportation Research Board Meeting on Jan. 12 in Washington, D.C. His research is supported by the Adnan Abou-Ayyash Centennial Professorship in Transportation Engineering.

Other survey findings:

  • Individuals living in Austin, Bryan and Fort Worth are more satisfied with the quality of bicycle facilities than bicyclists living in the rest of the state.
  • Bicyclists prefer no parking on their route, which is logical because parking reduces sight distance. If parking is necessary, they prefer angled parking over parallel parking.
  • Men and young bicyclists perceive the bicycle facilities in their community to be better than do women and older bicyclists.
  • The commute distance of those who bicycle to work ranges from one-fourth of a mile to 35 miles. The average is about 6.5 miles.
  • Bicycling is more common for non-commute reasons than for commuting. Those who bicycle to work tend to be young and environmentally conscious. Also, men are more likely to bike than women, regardless of the purpose of the bicycle trip.
  • Fitness and health concerns, followed by leisure, are the most compelling reasons for bicycling.

Adapted from materials provided by University of Texas at Austin.

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A New Use For Recycled Tires

By Jennifer Berry, Earth911

Approximately 300 million used car and truck tires are generated in the U.S. each year, according to the Recycling Times. With at least 25 percent of scrap tires being landfilled each year, there is a constant need to find innovative ways to reuse them.

While some people reuse whole tires as building materials or as planters for trees and plants, PMGI/Productive Recycling has developed a new waste-tire technology called T-Blocks, which are made of old tires and concrete. Each block consumes 20 to 40 used tires.

“Scrap tires are not only a waste of valuable landfill space but a more serious waste of what is now a viable resource. To illustrate the magnitude of the used tire problem the governments, Solid Waste Management, reports indicate, there is one scrap tire produced for every three people in the United States,” said Gerald Harrington, Managing Director, of PMGI/Productive Recycling.

T-Blocks can be used for a number of construction purposes, including:

  • Soil erosion control and slope protection
  • Wetlands reconstruction
  • Flood control
  • Dike and levee construction
  • Sub-foundation stabilizers, especially where vibration is a factor

Through their “Tire Recycling Cooperative of America” program, members act as producers, collecting, fabricating and delivering T-Blocks, as a mobile processing machine prepares the tires onsite for re-manufacturing. A basic operational system can process about 1,000 scrap-tires daily, turning them into usable resources.

So What Does That Mean For You?

Even though the general public cannot directly recycle their tires into T-Blocks, by simply recycling old tires, you provide materials for innovative uses such as the method developed by PMGI/Productive Recycling.

“We see our process to provide a value to the community in which they [consumers] live. This is through the reduction of scrap-tire stockpiles therefore reducing insect and rodent habitat and the fire hazard,” said Harrington.

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