"Healthy Air, Healthy Planet"
The International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies theme highlights the health effects of air pollution, especially in light of the COVID-19 epidemic. This year, the emphasis is on stressing the need for clean air for everyone while keeping the discussion open-ended enough to cover other important topics like climate change, planetary health, and the sustainable development goals.
Factors that Get Affected by Polluted Air
Bad air quality and such polluted air can bring serious impacts on health. Tiny, invisible pollution particles go deep within our bodies, including our lungs, bloodstream, and organs. About one-third of fatalities from stroke, chronic respiratory conditions, and lung cancer, as well as one-fourth of deaths from heart attacks, are attributed to these pollutants. In addition, asthma and other chronic respiratory conditions are also brought on by ground-level ozone, which is created when several contaminants combine with sunlight. In the climate aspect, short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) are among the pollutants most closely associated with both short-term global warming and adverse health impacts. They can have an almost instantaneous positive impact on people's health and the environment in areas where levels decline since they can be in the atmosphere for as little as a few days or as long as a few decades.
Prevention and Mitigation of Air Pollution to Enhance Global Air Quality
One of the leading preventable causes of mortality and disease worldwide, air pollution is the single biggest environmental danger to human health, with an estimated 6.5 million premature deaths (2016) worldwide related to indoor and outdoor air pollution. Women, children, and the elderly are disproportionately affected by air pollution, especially in developing nations, where they are frequently exposed to high levels of air pollution as well as interior air pollution from cooking with wood fuel and kerosene and heating with it. Due to its widespread distribution across great distances, air pollution is an issue that affects everyone on the planet. The number of fatalities brought on by air pollution is predicted to rise by more than 50% by 2050 in the absence of significant intervention. Because of the damaging effects on the economy, labor productivity, and healthcare expenditures, society pays a large price for air pollution. As a result, the financial advantages of investing in the reduction of air pollution cannot be overstated. It is also important to realize that there is an economic case for action and that there are affordable ways to deal with air pollution. In the perspective of sustainable development, poor air quality is a problem for all nations, but it is especially problematic in cities and metropolitan areas in developing nations when air pollution levels are greater than those recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
A significant portion of air pollution-related deaths are caused by certain air pollutants, such as black carbon, methane, and ground-level ozone. These pollutants also have short-lived climate effects and have an adverse impact on crops, which affects food security. As a result, reducing these pollutants has additional benefits for the environment.
International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies
By 2030, UN Member States must significantly reduce the number of fatalities and illnesses caused by hazardous chemicals, pollution of the air, water, and soil, as well as the negative environmental effects of cities as a whole, including by giving special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management. While air pollution is the single largest environmental danger to human health and one of the primary preventable causes of death and disease worldwide, clean air is crucial for people's daily lives and health. Women, children, and the elderly are disproportionately affected by air pollution, which also harms ecosystems.
The international community now recognizes that better air quality can help with climate change mitigation efforts and that air quality can help with climate change mitigation initiatives. The General Assembly decided to declare September 7 as the International Day of Clean Air for clear skies after being encouraged by the growing interest the world community has shown in clean air and stressing the importance of making additional efforts to improve air quality, including reducing air pollution, to protect human health.