At least two-thirds of citizens in Britain, India, Nigeria, Poland and Bulgaria have said they support stricter laws to tackle air pollution, according to a new YouGov survey conducted on behalf of the Clean Air Fund.
The survey which was carried out on around 1,000 citizens from each country, highlighted that at least 71% of people are concerned about air pollution as a health issue, and 76% are concerned about it as an environmental issue.
Air pollution has made millions of people vulnerable to the most severe impacts of COVID-19 and at the same time, air quality has significantly improved as a result of actions to protect public health through lockdowns.
As a result, a majority of people said that after experiencing cleaner air during lockdown they are now in favour of stricter laws to tackle air pollution going forward.
The Clean Air Fund is calling on leaders to put together recovery stimulus packages to develop a joint national health and environment strategy, make reducing air pollution a key element of economic stimulus, support repurposing cities for walking and cycling and work with other governments to tackle transboundary pollution.
Jane Burston, executive director of the Clean Air Fund said: ‘There is clear public demand for governments around the world to act on clean air – and no excuse not to. As lockdowns are eased and economies restarted, people are clear that they do not want a return to toxic air. That would simply replace one health crisis with another.
‘Action to improve air quality is uniquely possible right now.
‘Solutions already exist but they are not being scaled, copied or adapted with sufficient speed or focus. Governments must harness this widespread public support for actions to clean our air, and use post-COVID recovery packages to protect our health and environment.’
In related news, a green recovery from Covid-19 should combine decarbonising the economy with improving local variations in air quality, according to a report published yesterday (June 9) by non-profit organisation Energy Systems Catapult.
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