First International Day for Clean Air calls for action to beat air pollution

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New Delhi (NVI): The global efforts to reduce air pollution and its effects will receive a boost, when for the first time, the world will observe the International Day of Clean Air for blue skies today.

The International Day of Clear Air was created following a December 2019 United Nations (UN) General Assembly resolution recognizing the need for increased awareness and international cooperation to reduce air pollution.

However, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is responsible for facilitating observance of this Day on September 7, to promote and facilitate actions to improve air quality.

Air pollution is the single greatest environmental risk to human health, causing 7 million premature deaths annually from diseases like stroke, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer and acute respiratory infections, UNEP said in a statement.

Many air pollutants are also powerful climate forcers, harming the health and well-being of those living today and making the world less safe for future generations, it added.

This Day calls for increase international cooperation at the global, regional and sub-regional levels. It also aims to raise awareness of the many solutions available to beat air pollution and their multiple benefits.

Moreover, the Republic of Korea led global efforts to create this new International Day of Clean Air for blue skies and will host an event to start celebrations around the world on September 7.

The theme of the International Day of Clean Air for blue skies 2020 is “Clean Air for All”. On this first Day recognize that the air a person breathe is shared by everyone and all can do their part for clean air.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in his message for the Day said, “Around the world, nine out of every ten people breathe unclean air that does not meet World Health Organization guidelines for clean air.”

“The extent of this challenge requires decisive action on the part of governments, businesses and communities to end reliance on fossil fuels in favour of clean affordable renewable energy. On the first-ever International Day of Clean Air for blue skies, let us commit to no new coal for cleaner, greener economies and better health for all,” Guterres said.

On this day, people, communities, businesses and local and national governments will make commitments and take steps that lead to a future without air pollution.

This first recognition takes place as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to prevent in-person gatherings. However, most of the Day’s events will be held virtually.

-RJV