Air pollution is the biggest environmental health risk of our time. Over 99 per cent of people breathe unsafe air. Exposure to air pollution can lead to stroke, heart and lung diseases, cancer and more. Polluted air kills 6.7 million people per year, and 2.4 billion people are exposed to dangerous levels of household air pollution.
Air pollution is trans boundary – all stakeholders have a responsibility to protect the earth’s atmosphere and ensure healthy air for all.
Working together, across borders and boundaries, between sectors and beyond silos, will help reduce air pollution, leverage finance and investments towards air quality measures and solutions, and provide health benefits.
Air pollution knows no borders, travelling thousands of kilometers, spreading contaminates with the wind. And the climate crisis is having devastating and growing impacts on every continent on Earth,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in his message for Clean Air Day. “Global problems require global solutions. We must act together for clean air.
The importance of supporting the transition to clean cooking and electric vehicles, encouraging walking and cycling in cities, putting in place systems to make responsible waste management second nature, and acting on the pledge to reduce methane emissions.
Noting that everyone has a right to live in a clean and healthy environment, Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP, said: “Air pollution kills, causing millions of premature deaths each year and air pollution is linked to climate change as the sources are often the same.” “We must cut these sources.
Replace fossil fuels with renewable energy. Reform agriculture to reduce methane and black carbon emissions and help vulnerable households access clean heating and cooking fuels and reduce open burning of waste and of course, invest in nature to keep cities cool and filter the air,” she added, calling on governments, the private sector and all parties to increase action and investments and work together to beat air pollution.
Countries in the West Asia region recommended the establishment of a Regional Air Quality Networks and requested UNEP to assess the status of air quality management and identify work priorities for the network as the first phase. In Nairobi, which hosted the Africa Climate Summit and Africa Climate Week an event was held to mark Clean Air Day, officiated by the Governor of Nairobi, H.E. Sakaja Johnson, who oversaw the unveiling of a new mural highlighting the importance of clean transportation and better air quality for children’s health.
Air pollution is the greatest environmental threat to public health globally and accounts for an estimated 6.7 million premature deaths every year. Air pollution and the climate crisis are
closely linked, as all major pollutants have an impact on the climate and most share common sources with greenhouse gases. Improving our air quality will bring health, development and environmental benefits. Although air pollution is a global problem, it disproportionately affects those living in developing nations and particularly the most vulnerable, such as women, children and the elderly.
International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies on September 7 is observed to recognize the importance of clean air in our health and daily lives.The theme of this year’s International Day of Clean Air for blue skies.”
Together, we must accelerate a just and equitable transition away from fossil fuels, particularly coal, towards clean renewable energy, while ensuring that no one is left behind Air pollution is the most serious single environmental threat to people’s health and one of the leading preventable causes of death and disease worldwide. Women, children, and the elderly are disproportionately affected by air pollution, which also has destructive effects on the environment.
The day serves as a rallying cry to unite our efforts and assert our right to clean air. During its 74th session, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for an International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies on December 19, 2019, and invited the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to help organize the international day on September 7 in collaboration with other relevant organizations.
The day serves as a platform for increasing global solidarity and political momentum for action against air pollution and climate change. It includes increased international cooperation on air quality data collection, joint research, the development of new technologies, and the sharing of best practices. The resolution was adopted without a vote, indicating that all regions understood the importance of this concept, were united on the issue, and there were no obvious divisions.
The day seeks to promote the importance of clean air for health, efficiency, the economy, and the environment. This will help to demonstrate the close relationship between air quality and other environmental and developmental challenges such as climate change.
Efforts to mark the day focus on promoting solutions that improve air quality by sharing actionable knowledge, best practices, innovations, and success stories. These actions are geared toward bringing together diverse actors for concerted national, regional, and international approaches.
Join the fight for cleaner air and blue skies by learning more about the effects of air pollution. With shared responsibility, we can develop creative solutions to help preserve our environment and health.
(The views expressed are personal. Writer can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org)