THE SECRETARY-GENERAL MESSAGE ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF CLEAN AIR FOR BLUE SKIES
7 September 2022
In July this year, nations recognized the universal right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment.
Clean air is now a human right.
A stable climate is a human right.
Healthy nature is a human right.
Today, air pollution is denying billions of people of their rights.
Dirty air affects 99 per cent of people on the planet.
The poor suffer worst.
Especially women and girls, whose health suffers by cooking and heating with dirty fuels.
The poor also live in areas choked with fumes from traffic and industry.
Air pollutants also cause global warming.
Wildfires are further polluting the air.
When people are exposed to air pollution and extreme heat, their risk of death is some 20 per cent higher.
Climate change and air pollution are a deadly duo.
On this third International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies, I call on all countries to work together to combat air pollution.
We know what to do.
Invest in renewable energy and swiftly transition away from fossil fuels.
Rapidly move to zero-emission vehicles and alternative modes of transport.
Increase access to clean cooking, heating and cooling.
Recycle waste instead of burning it.
These actions would save millions of lives each year, slow climate change and speed up sustainable development.
Air pollution knows no borders.
So, nations must work together.
Let’s monitor air pollution.
Make laws to meet World Health Organization Air Quality Guidelines.
And deliver credible plans to reduce emissions from vehicles, power plants, construction and industries.
Together, we can reduce air pollution and keep people and the planet healthy and safe.