The International Day of Clean Air for Blue Sky: Increasing Efforts to Overcome a Global Challenge
International Justice and Human Rights Researcher
Global Human Rights Defence
September 7th, marked the commemoration of the International Day of Clean Air for Blue Sky adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2019. On this occasion, Martina Otto, head of the Secretariat of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, warned that the perception of air pollution as a local, national problem can have some drawbacks. Despite national efforts to reduce emission, pollution is a global challenge that cannot be addressed with isolated measures. “It's the air we share, and that means we also have to share the solutions”, She pointed out. In expressing his concerns, Nathan Borgford-Parnell, Coordinator of Science Affairs, warned that “air quality has not improved dramatically over the last decade”. The experts highlighted how such a global challenge is also a matter of environmental injustice due to the population of low and middle-income countries, children and elderly people, and poor neighbours being the most affected. (UN News, 2022b)
With the UN warning that “Air pollution is an environmental risk to human health” with “99% of our world… exposed to polluted air causing an estimated 7 million premature deaths every year”, taking action to reduce pollution and bring change became a priority. (UN Environment Programme, n.d.) The importance of the cause is also highlighted by the recent adoption of the UN historic Resolution declaring access to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, a universal human right, calling upon States, international organisations, and business enterprises to increase their effort to ensure a healthy environment for all. (UN News, 2022a)
Source and Further Readings:
UN Environment Programme (n.d.), International Day of Clean Air for Blue Sky, UNEP, retrieved on September 7th, 2022 from https://www.cleanairblueskies.org/.
United Nations (July 28, 2022a), UN General Assembly declares access to clean and healthy environment a universal human right, UN News, retrieved on September 7th, 2022 from https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/07/1123482.
United Nations (September 7, 2022b), ‘The air that keeps us alive is making us sick’, warn UN experts on Clean Air Day, UN News, retrieved on September 7th, 2022 from https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/09/1126101.