A new practice has been set into motion with the observance of the first International Day of Clean Air for blue skies on September 7 with an aim to bring together diverse international actors working towards the goal of clean air.
The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Resolution to hold an International Day of Clean Air for blue skies on December 19, 2019, during its 74th session and invited the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to facilitate the observance of the International Day, in collaboration with other relevant organisations.
As per the United Nations Environment Programme, “the resolution stresses the importance of and urgent need to raise public awareness at all levels and to promote and facilitate actions to improve air quality.” The observance of this Day is open to the UN member states, UN organisations, international as well as regional organisations and the civil society.
The International Day of Clean air for blue skies profoundly emphasizes on securing cleaner environment while acknowledging the ill effects of air pollution and threats possessed by it.
Moreover, while setting goals to improve better air quality for the betterment on human kind and taking steps towards “The Future We Want”, the day further aims to:-
- Raise public awareness at all levels—individual, community, corporate and government—that clean air is important for health, productivity, the economy and the environment.
- Demonstrate the close link of air quality to other environmental/developmental challenges such as – most and foremost – climate change and the global Sustainable Development Goals.
- Promote and facilitate solutions that improve air quality by sharing actionable knowledge best practices, innovations, and success stories.
- Bring together diverse international actors working on this topic to form a strategic alliance to gain momentum for concerted national, regional and international approaches for effective air quality management.
According to UN Environment, “Given the current backdrop with the wide-scale transmission of COVID-19, the Day assumes an even more important role in propagating the urgent need to address air pollution and the challenges it poses while adding emphasis on moving toward sustainability at an individual, national as well as global level. “
A UN report has revealed that as many as 6.5 million premature deaths that took place across the globe were a result of exposure to air pollution. Air pollution is a global issue that affects everyone breathing on the planet. The number of lives claimed by air pollution is expected to double by the year 2050.
As per reports by UN Environment, 92% of our world is exposed to polluted air causing an estimated 7 million premature deaths every year. Not just that, it has detrimental impacts on climate, biodiversity and ecosystems, and quality of life in general.
UNEP believes “air pollution is an environmental risk to human health and an avoidable cause of death and disease worldwide. Improving our air quality will bring health, development and environmental benefits.”
With countries coming together with a pledge to achieve their goal of sustainable development, the first celebration will set a precedent for an important and exciting new international day for clean air to be celebrated annually.