Did you know that 92% of the world is exposed to polluted air? Air pollution causes roughly 7 million premature deaths each year. If immediate action is not taken, premature deaths will increase more than 50% by the year 2050. Air pollution infringes upon our environmental right to clean air. We must use our ability to influence communities, corporations and governments to combat air pollution.
What Is the International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies?
On December 19, 2019, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 74/212 for the International Day of Clean Air for blue skies, which was first observed on September 7, 2020.
The International Day of Clean Air for blue skies aims to:
- Raise public awareness at the individual, community, corporate and government levels.
- Unite international actors to encourage effective air quality management.
- Share actionable knowledge to promote air quality solutions.
- Illustrate the relationship between air quality and other environmental and developmental issues.
2021 IDCA Theme
This year’s International Day of Clean Air theme is “Healthy Air, Healthy Planet,” emphasizing the necessity of clean air for everyone. The theme considers the impact of air pollution on human and planetary health while incorporating other issues such as climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Why Is Clean Air Day Important?
According to the United Nations, air pollution is the greatest environmental risk to human health. Women, children, the elderly and low-income populations are disproportionately affected by air pollution across the globe.
Fortunately, disease and death as a result of air pollution are entirely avoidable with appropriate action. Thus, Clean Air Day is imperative to the awareness of air pollution and its effect on human health and the Earth’s ecosystems. This day promotes and celebrates efforts to mitigate poor air quality and its impact on our world.
How to Take Action During Clean Air Day
There are several steps you can take to ensure healthy air quality at home.
- Educate yourself about the causes and effects of air pollution, tangible solutions for individuals, policies and procedures in your area that protect and/or harm air quality and other relevant information.
- Create a neighborhood group and advocate for clean air practices, educate others about the dangers of air pollution and provide relevant resources for the community.
- Avoid harmful actions that increase air pollution. For example, residential wood burning, smoking, littering and cleaning with harsh chemicals.
- Upgrade your home system. The United Nations Environment Programme recommends that homeowners: “check efficiency ratings for home heating systems and cookstoves to use models that save money and protect health.”
Earth’s climate is changing rapidly and it is paramount that we preserve our right to a healthy life. Actions such as the aforementioned will help reduce the effects of air pollution on human health. Remember to join the conversation on social media about World Clean Air Day by using the hashtag #HealthyAirHealthyPlanet.