Thursday,19 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1243, (23 - 29 April 2015)
Thursday,19 October, 2017
Issue 1243, (23 - 29 April 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Clocks not to be moved

Responding to a national opinion poll, the government decided to stop switching to the daylight saving time this year, reports Reem Leila

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Al-Ahram Weekly

A national opinion poll conducted ten days ago by the cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Centre showed that around 70 per cent of those polled are against the annual switching to the daylight saving time (DST). Results of the poll were handed to Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb on 20 April. On the same day, Mehleb declared the cancelation of using DST for this year.

On 5 April, Mehleb announced that under law 35/2014 the clocks would be moved forward one hour on the last Thursday of April. However, met with a wide public opinion not in favour of the DST, Mehleb asked the cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Centre to conduct a poll on whether to continue the use of DST.

Cabinet spokesman Hossam Al-Qawish said, in a phone interview during a talk show on the satellite channel of CBC, when the prime minister decided on the issue, he took the results of the poll into consideration. There have been reports that the public like to see the end of DST. “The poll’s results revealed that 70 per cent of the public are for the cancelation of DST, and the prime minister made his final decision taking them into account,” Al-Qawish said.

The IDSC conducted a phone survey of several thousand people to discover opinions before issuing a decree. “Figures of the poll which finished sooner than expected revealed that 70 per cent of the population are against the use of DST, while 30 per cent did not mind using it with the preference of re-adjusting the clock during the Holy month of Ramadan. Its feasibility was insignificant,” Al-Qawish said.

Egypt started working with the DST system in 1988 in order to help reduce electricity consumption. It was adopted by many other countries after the 1973 oil shock to help save energy by reducing the need for lighting in the late afternoons.

In 2011, Egypt decided not to use DST, a decision which was welcomed by many but did not last long.

Reports issued by the ministry of electricity say that DST does not have a significant effect on reducing electricity consumption. According to ministry reports, many people also dislike having to change the time twice a year.

Similar surveys have been conducted on social networks such as Facebook, and the initial results of these have revealed that 64 per cent do not approve the use of DST. 33 per cent are in favour of it, and three per cent did not express a preference.

Last year, the clocks were adjusted four times in order to accommodate the beginning and end of the holy month of Ramadan, as well as the beginning of summer and winter.

DST, which is used in numerous countries, means advancing the clocks by one hour during summer. During DST, the sun seems to rise one hour later when people are still sleeping, and in the evening it seems to set one hour later, giving the impression that the day is longer.

Company owner Gamal Al-Guindi said he hoped the government would cancel DST forever. “This would be the right thing to do,” he said. “It is ridiculous to use DST. My work and business trips have been affected. It is all very confusing and unnecessary.”

Sahar Ahmed, a secretary who lives a long way from her work, said it would be better to keep DST. “I live a long way from work, but my job keeps me in the office until late. Having an extra hour of daylight is better for me so I can go home safely.”

According to a report issued by the IDSC two years ago, DST was first suggested by the American writer Benjamin Franklin in 1784. Many European countries were against the idea, but it was adopted by several of them in 1916. Many countries that adopted the DST system used it to change the time due to special conditions or events.

In 2007, DST was introduced by Canada and the US, beginning on the second Sunday of March and ending on the first Sunday of November. Nowadays, countries using DST adjust the clocks by one hour forwards or backwards, but in 1940 the adjustments varied, with some clocks advancing by two hours and others by only 30 minutes.

 The IDSC report says that during the first half of the 20th century, DST was used by New Zealand. During World War II, the US used DST but for longer time intervals and not during summer time only. All the states of the US used DST from February 1942 to September 1945, when it was called War Time.

The present time in Egypt is GMT +2, whereas in summer it becomes GMT +3.

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