On 5 June 2019, World Environment Day will focus on the theme of air pollution — a call for action to combat one of the greatest environmental emerging challenges of our time.
World Environment Day invites us all to consider how we can make changes in our daily lives to reduce air pollution, which in turn can both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and benefit people’s health.
Often you can’t even see it, but air pollution is everywhere and affects your health from head to toe. With every breath, you are probably sucking in tiny particles that attack your lungs, heart and brain.
Nine out of ten people worldwide are exposed to levels of air pollutants that exceed World Health Organization safe levels. Around seven million people worldwide die prematurely each year from air pollution, 5.6 million deaths are from noncommunicable diseases and 1.5 million from pneumonia. Air pollution causes a host of other problems, including illness and lower IQs. Beyond causing respiratory diseases, air pollution is a major cause of heart attacks, lung cancer and stroke in people.
It doesn’t just impact human health, it also impacts global warming, economic growth and our natural environment. Air pollution decreases the oxygen supply in our oceans, making it harder for plants to grow and as such, contributes to climate change.
The good news is that air pollution is largely avoidable and its negative consequences are preventable. Solutions are known and can be implemented. The world needs to act now.
Visit the World Environment Day global website.
The Geneva Environment Network (GEN) is a cooperative partnership of over 75 environment and sustainable development organizations based at the International Environment House and elsewhere in the Geneva region, including United Nations offices and programmes, non-governmental organizations, local authorities and academic institutions. Set up in 1999, the Geneva Environment Network Secretariat is supported by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment and led by UN Environment. The GEN secretariat organizes and hosts meetings, discussions and briefings on the environment and sustainable development, promoting the dissemination of information and public awareness of environmental issues. It actively promotes increased cooperation and networking between its members.