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About half of the greenhouse gas emissions produced by an average Australian household each year are from transport, yet 53% of all car trips in Melbourne are less than 5km in length (See Table 1).
Table 1: Proportion of car trips below 3 and 5 km in three Australia cities
|City - 3km||Car trips less than 5km|
Climate change has become an issue of urgent concern. According to the Australian Greenhouse Office (AGO), transport currently accounts for 34% of household emissions. In fact, the AGO have shown that Australia's transport greenhouse gas emissions have soared 30% from 1990 levels. Cycling, walking and catching public transport is one way a household can significantly reduce its contribution to the pollution that causes climate change.Walking, cycling and catching public transport reduce traffic congestion on roads and also reduces local air pollution. In Australia it is estimated that in a single year, air pollution from motor vehicles causes between 900 and 2,000 early deaths and between 900 and 4,500 cases of bronchitis, cardiovascular and respiratory disease, costing between $1.5 and $3.8 billion.
Air pollution also harms the environment by restricting plant photosynthesis, damaging leaves and adversely affecting the yield of some crops. Motor vehicles also produce other pollutants like oil and petrol residues, which enter the storm water system and are a major source of waterway and ocean pollution. Every time you cycle, walk or use public transport instead of driving, you significantly reduce emissions of pollutants and toxins into our environment. There is also evidence that as a cyclist, you breathe in less, not more pollution.
More people out on the streets also improve community safety by acting as an informal neighbourhood watch.
Download the following issue sheet for the environmental benefits of cycling:
How many planets does it take to support your lifestyle? Take the following survey to find out how big your ecological footprint is.
Want to find out what Victoria's Ecological Footprint is? Then download the following report.
Estimate your car's greenhouse emissions by using the Department of Environment, Heritage and the Arts Greenhouse Emissions Calculator.