International Day of Clean Air for blue skies calls for increased international cooperation on air pollution at a global, regional and sub-regional level.
Adopted by a UN General Assembly Resolution in 2019, the International Day of Clean Air for blue skies stresses the urgent need to raise public awareness at all levels of the importance of actions to improve air quality.
The Republic of Korea has led global efforts to create this new day and are hosting various events over the course of the day to initiate celebrations.
As part of the day’s events, the United Nations Environment Department (UNEP) and the UN Climate and Clean Air Coalition are calling for increased international cooperation on air pollution at a global, regional and sub-regional level.
The aim of the day’s events is to provide a platform to strengthen global solidarity and to create political momentum for action against air pollution and climate change, for example, increased collection of air quality data and the sharing of best practices.
Inger Anderson, executive director of UNEP said: ‘Air pollution is a huge environmental risk to human health. It has a disproportionate impact on the poor. The economic costs are mounting – whether through healthcare bills, lost productivity, reduced crop yields or the eroded competitiveness of cities.
‘COVID-19 lockdowns have shown that a cleaner sky is possible. That people are willing to listen to science. That we can act quickly to protect human health. We must take similar urgent action to lift the smog of air pollution. If we do, we can save millions of lives and billions of dollars each year.’
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation added: ‘In the face of global challenges posed by air pollution, climate change, social and economic inequalities, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we have a chance to build back better.
‘Many governments have already taken steps to align health, air pollution and climate policies. Now is the time to rethink how we organize our societies, our cities, our transportation, and how we cook and heat our homes – for health’s sake.’
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