Ministry of Environment on Wednesday initiated a campaign titled 'Saafu Vayah Bicycle' in collaboration with Bike Maldives on the occasion of World Environment Day.
The cycling event, which was launched by Environment Minister Dr Hussain Rasheed Hassan, started off at Hulhumale' Ferry Terminal and ended at Social Centre.
Speaking at the launching ceremony, Minister Hussain Rasheed Hassan highlighted the issue of air pollution in Maldives with the ever increasing number of vehicles.
According to the minister, 58,000 vehicles are registered in the Greater Male' region alone and this number is still on the rise.
Additionally, he noted that statistics by World Health Organisation (WHO) placed the air pollution levels of capital Male' at 10 percent higher than the acceptable amount.
Environment Ministry revealed that the event targeted to reduce pollutants released by vehicle engines, encourage the use of environment friendly transportation, and create interest within the public to opt for bicycles.
The theme for this year's Environment Day is 'Air Pollution', aiming to raise awareness on the increasing levels of pollutants in the atmosphere and their repercussions to human health and the environment.
According to WHO, air pollution kills an estimated seven million people worldwide each year.
In 2012, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified diesel engine exhaust as carcinogenic to humans, based on evidence that exposure is associated with an increased risk for lung cancer.