Monday, Sep 06, 2021
Climate & Environment
Following the international community’s increasing interest in clean air, and emphasizing the need to make further efforts to improve air quality to protect human health, the United Nations General Assembly has designated 7 September as the International Day of Clean Air for blue skies. Often, you can’t see air pollution but it is everywhere. Air pollution causes approximately 7 million premature deaths annually, making it the single greatest environmental risk to human health and one of the main avoidable causes of death and disease globally. Air pollution knows no national borders. Air pollution disproportionately affects women, children and older persons, and has a negative impact on ecosystems. Many air pollutants contribute directly to the climate crisis and improving air quality can enhance climate change mitigation. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, also recognizes that air pollution abatement is important to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals. This first International Day of Clean Air for blue skies aims to build a global community of action that encourages countries to work together to tackle air pollution to ensure clean air for all. To this end, it gives people a platform that can enable cooperation to mitigate air pollution at the individual, national, regional, as well as international levels. Air pollution is preventable, but we need everyone on board–from individuals to private companies to governments. What you can do The first observance of the International Day of Clean Air for blue skies provided us all an opportunity for each of us to combat air pollution but you don’t have to wait until September 7 to act. There are so many things that we can do on a day-to-day basis, from cycling to work, to recycling non-organic trash, to pressuring local authorities to improve green spaces in our cities. Here are some other ideas:
- turn off lights and electronics not in use;
- check efficiency ratings for home heating systems and cook-stoves, favouring models that save money and protect health; and
- never burn trash, as this contributes directly to air pollution.