Finnish town rewards residents with cakes for cutting CO2 emissions

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Would you walk rather than use a car to earn a piece of cake?

The Finnish town of Lahti, which is located around 100 kilometres north of Helsinki, is offering its residents perks such as cakes, free transport tickets, and other incentives and rewards for cutting their carbon emissions.

To encourage citizens to go green and adopt sustainable modes of transport, the town has developed an app called CitiCAP that tracks the CO2 usage of citizens based on user mobility and what mode of transport they use – whether they travel by car, public transport, bike, or by walk. Funded by the European Union, this app gives the users a weekly carbon limit or budget. If users do not exceed this limit, they get virtual money and coupons that can be used to avail facilities such as bus tickets, free access to swimming pools, and cakes!

“You can earn up to two euros (per week) if your travel emissions are really low,” said the project’s research manager, Ville Uusitalo. “But this autumn, we intend to increase the price tenfold.”

“You can get a coupon from the app, and with that, you go to the coffee shop and they can see that ‘okay, you have earned this much’, and you have enough to buy a coffee and cake,” said Mirkka Ruohonen, a council employee who has been using the app for around a few months.

With a population of about 120,000, Lahti, currently, is very car dependent. However, authorities believe that such incentives can lure citizens to lower their environmental impact.

The app has been downloaded by around 2,000 residents of Lahti and around 200 citizens use it actively.

Do you think such initiatives will encourage people to use sustainable modes of transport? Should other countries also try such plans? Let us know your views in the comments section below.

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