EYA pedals against pollution

Issue 

EYA pedals against pollution

By Jim McIlroy

BRISBANE — The next generation of young people faces tremendous problems of pollution and environmental destruction because of the neglect of the past, Phoebe Clark, a 13-year-old high school student, told a bicycle rally for public transport here on March 21.

The rally in King George Square preceded a bike ride and concert in the Botanical Gardens, organised by the Environmental Youth Alliance.

Some 200 people heard speakers and later listened to a number of entertainers on the theme of "Pedal Against Pollution."

Democrat Senator Cheryl Kernot called for urgent action to improve public transport in Brisbane, and outlined her party's proposals for a fossil fuel tax to fund transport changes and research into energy efficiency.

Susan Price, Democratic Socialist candidate for Brisbane in the recent federal elections, pointed out that Brisbane public transport is unintegrated, and expensive for students and other low-income groups.

In a capitalist market economy, she said, public transport is treated as a cost rather than an essential social service.

Public transport, as well as bicycle facilities such as bikeways, should be vastly expanded and made cheap and accessible, as a means of providing a realistic alternative to the inefficient and polluting private motor car, Price said.

Sam Watson from the Australian Indigenous People's Party explained the contrast between the harmonious use of land in Aboriginal society and the destructive situation today under white society.

Peter McCallum, from the Bicycle Institute, contrasted the planning for cycle usage in Holland with the lack of action by governments here. He called for more programs of bikeways and other planning measures to assist cyclists in this country.

Phil Heywood, a lecturer in town planning at the Queensland University of Technology, said: "We need to be a bit more angry as cyclists and pedestrians with our politicians, and demand that they show more commitment to implementing environmentally friendly transport policies."

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