Air pollution kills 7 million people a year, says UN on World Environment Day 2019

(Climate Action, 5 Jun 2019) António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, has declared air pollution a critical culprit of lowering life expectancy and damaging global economies on World Environment Day 2019, held by UN Environment.

The result of harmful substances entering the atmosphere, air pollution is predominantly caused by anthropogenic sources such as landfills, power stations, vehicles and fuel combustion. António Guterres’ statement released for World Environment Day announced that 90% of people are exposed to levels of air pollution exceeding World Health Organisation-safe levels, killing 7 million people a year.

The Secretary-General urged governments and businesses to face the climate crisis: “It is time to act decisively. My message to governments is clear: tax pollution; end fossil fuel subsidies; and stop building new coal plants. We need a green economy not a grey economy”.

Guterres specified that air pollution costs $5 trillion a year to societies, as declared by the World Bank. He insisted that “tackling air pollution therefore presents a double opportunity, as there are many successful initiatives that both clear the air and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as phasing out coal-fired power plants and promoting less polluting industry, transport and domestic fuels.”

“With investments in renewable energy sources outstripping those in fossil fuels every year, the rise of clean energy is helping globally. Cleaner transport is also growing around the world”.

External link

Climate Action, 5 Jun 2019: Air pollution kills 7 million people a year, says UN on World Environment Day 2019