10 World Governments Pledge to Fight Against Air Pollution

Children demonstrating in the streets of Delhi so the Indian government should protect them from dust and noise pollution coming from extended construction activity. Photo by Rakesh Raman
Children demonstrating in the streets of Delhi so the Indian government should protect them from dust and noise pollution coming from extended construction activity. Photo by Rakesh Raman

Ten regional governments across the world are the first to take the next step in the fight against air pollution by joining the BreatheLife campaign.

The ten regions: Gossas (Senegal), Jalisco and Campeche (Mexico), Plateau (Benin), Catalonia and Basque Country (Spain), Chaco (Argentina), Azuay (Ecuador), Lombardy (Italy) and Valle de Aburra (Colombia) together encompass almost 3000 municipalities, and a total population of over 35 million.

By joining the campaign, these regions commit to take action to mitigate air pollution and bring the air quality in urban areas back to World Health Organization’s (WHO) air quality standards for clean air by 2030.

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Regional governments are implementing over 100 key actions to curb air pollution, including: develop sustainable mobility and transportation policies, such as sustainable and clean transportation, vehicle pollution control and the development of long-term efficient mass transit; regulate and improve the disposal and management of solid waste; set ambitious standards on emissions for both households and industries; encourage and incentivize the development of sustainable energy solutions.

“By tackling the root causes of air pollution, cities and regions are delivering a better quality of life for their citizens and concrete action on climate change. This shows that positive environmental action is not a burden, but rather an exciting opportunity. Cleaner cities will be happier, healthier and more productive!” said Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment.

[ Also Read: How to Protect Yourself from Deadly Pollution in Delhi ]

Due to the strategic position of regional governments between the national and local levels, they are uniquely suited for the optimal implementation of policies on the ground. Regional governments are also instrumental in ensuring the cooperation, coordination and coherence of the actions developed by all governmental levels and in translating global commitments into concrete territorial action.

UN Environment and the Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development (nrg4SD) co-hosted this event.

The network (nrg4SD) has over 50 members worldwide and serves as the voice of regional governments at UN negotiations, European Union initiatives and international agendas on climate change, biodiversity and sustainable development, advocating for recognition and engagement of regional governments.

BreatheLife is a joint campaign led by the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Environment, and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC).

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Rakesh Raman