Bhutan bans driving...on Tuesdays

THIMPHU, Bhutan -- Tuesdays in the small Himalayan nation of Bhutan will become "Pedestrians' Day" after the country's cabinet approved a one-day-a-week ban on driving in town centers during business hours, the Kuensel newspaper reported Friday.

"Tuesdays will be a day when Bhutanese citizens would seize the opportunity to contemplate the fragile nature of our precious Himalayan mountain ecology and make a small contribution," the cabinet said in a statement.

"This will also be a day Bhutanese all over will walk for their health and promote [the] joy of walking, together with friends, family and colleagues, and thereby promote interaction and community vitality," it added.

The decision means that driving will be banned in town centers on Tuesdays between 8:00am local time and 6:00pm local time.

Electric and hybrid vehicles will still be allowed to use the roads, as will emergency vehicles such as ambulances and police cars.

Bhutan has a population of only 700,000 people. It is known around the world for its promotion of Gross National Happiness as a measure of the country's development.

"Pedestrian's Day" will begin in Bhutan on June 5, coinciding with World Environment Day.