How to Move Towards a Pollution-Free Planet

Children affected by dust and air pollution at the RMN Foundation free school for deserving children in Delhi. Photo by Rakesh Raman. Click the photo to meet the RMN Foundation School Children.
Children affected by dust and air pollution at the RMN Foundation free school for deserving children in Delhi. Photo by Rakesh Raman. Click the photo to meet the RMN Foundation School Children.

Outlining the many ways in which the world can move to a healthier, more sustainable way of living, UN Environment has launched “Towards a pollution-free planet.”

It is a report that serves as a call to action to governments, businesses, local authorities, civil society and individuals to prevent and reduce pollution, and clean up the planet.

The report comes ahead of the United Nations Environment Assembly, to be held on 4-6 December 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya under the overarching theme of pollution.

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“Pollution is a universal challenge that threatens wildlife, devastates ecosystems, and kills millions of people every year,” said UN Environment Executive Director Erik Solheim.

The report conveys five overarching messages:

  • A global compact on pollution would make pollution prevention a priority for all.
  • Environmental governance needs to be strengthened at all levels.
  • Sustainable consumption and production, through improved resource efficiency and lifestyle changes, should be promoted; waste reduction and management must be prioritized.
  • Investment in cleaner production and consumption will help to counter pollution.
  • Multi-stakeholder partnerships and collaborations are vital for the innovation, knowledge-sharing and transdisciplinary research needed to develop technological and ecosystems- based solutions.

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“Towards a pollution-free planet” reiterates that pollution is controllable and avoidable, and emphasizes the role of multilateral environmental agreements, including on climate change, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with its numerous pollution-reducing targets.

The report is launched during the first Conference of Parties for the Minamata Convention which addresses mercury issues and is a major agreement to protect human health and the environment.

It further proposes 50 focused and actionable interventions to address pollution in all its forms, such as moving to electric mobility; treating, recycling, reusing wastewater to reduce discharge in freshwater bodies; and advancing safer alternatives for toxic chemicals though sustainability chemistry.

With these concrete examples, UN Environment seeks to empower governments, businesses, civil society organizations and individuals to take a stand against pollution, as well as take action to #BeatPollution by making a voluntary commitment on the UN Environment website.

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Rakesh Raman