World Clean Air Day
Sept 7

World Clean Air Day

Description of Issue

World Clean Air DayAir pollution is the biggest environmental health risk of our time. Over 99 per cent of people breathe unsafe air.

Exposure can lead to stroke, heart and lung diseases, cancer and more. Polluted air kills 6.7 million people per year, and 2.4 billion people are exposed to dangerous levels of household air pollution.

Air pollution is transboundary – all stakeholders have a responsibility to protect the earth’s atmosphere and ensure healthy air for everyone. Working together, across borders and boundaries, between sectors and beyond silos, will help reduce air pollution, leverage finance and investments towards air quality measures and solutions, and provide health benefits.

Air pollution is a public health crisis worldwide. The simple act of breathing is linked to multiple acute and chronic health issues. Burning fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) for electricity, heat, and transport is the major driver of climate change and a main source of air pollution. Air pollution caused by fossil fuel combustion is responsible for 1 in 5 deaths worldwide. More than 8 million people died in 2018 from fossil fuel pollution, significantly higher than previous research suggested, according to a study by researchers from the University of Birmingham and Harvard University.

Indeed, air pollution is a major concern for the environment, health, and human development worldwide. It affects our health and quality of life, with evidence of links to cancer, asthma, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, changes linked to dementia, and harmful effects on the fetus and young child. It burdens economies by making workers and students less productive and stressing health care systems.

Clean Air Day Despite these well-documented consequences, 99% of the world’s population lives in places where air quality levels exceed the World Health Organization’s guideline limits and contain high levels of pollutants, with low- and middle-income countries suffering most from the highest exposures. Meanwhile, air quality monitoring is inadequate in some of the most polluted large urban areas. As a result, air pollution is neither recognized nor addressed as the public health crisis it is. The economic costs of air pollution-related health impacts are tremendous – amounting to over $8.1 trillion, or 6.1% of global GDP, in 2019. Fossil fuel extraction, production, and distribution also cause devastating health impacts for workers and the communities living near fossil fuel infrastructure.

The fourth edition of the International Day of Clean Air for blue skies, which stresses the importance of clean air and the urgency to act to improve air quality and protect human health, will be commemorated on September 7 2023. The theme for this year’s day is Together For Clean Air. It calls upon everyone, from governments and corporations to civil society and individuals, to collaborate for clean air solutions. We request colleagues to use this material to advance advocacy on fossil fuel, air pollution and health

This International Day of Clean Air for blue skies, we call upon everyone, from governments and corporations to civil society and individuals to come #TogetherForCleanAir.

World Clean Air Day

Brief Highlight

This International Day of Clean Air for blue skies, we call upon everyone, from governments and corporations to civil society and individuals to come #TogetherForCleanAir.

Description of Action

“We invest in our children’s future, sending them to school to expand their minds and yet the air they breathe while waiting for the school bus is negatively influencing their brain development” – Dr Maria Neira, Director, @WHO Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health.