Covid-19 and International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies

International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies. Photo: WMO / Anna Zuidema
International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies. Photo: WMO / Anna Zuidema

The first International Day of Clean Air for blue skies will be observed on September 7, 2020. This first celebration will set a precedent for an important new international day for clean air to be celebrated annually.

Given the current backdrop of wide-scale transmission of Covid-19, the Day assumes an even more important role in propagating the urgent need to address air pollution and the challenges it poses while adding emphasis on moving toward sustainability at an individual, national, as well as global level.

A new study reveals a correlation between exposure to air pollution and Covid-19 mortality. It says that a small increase in long-term exposure to PM2.5 leads to a large increase in coronavirus (Covid-19) death rate, with the magnitude of increase 20 times that observed for PM2.5 and all-cause mortality.

The study – done by the researchers of the Department of Biostatistics, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, USA – underscores the importance of continuing to enforce existing air pollution regulations to protect human health both during and after the Covid-19 crisis.

Cities, regional and national governments along with civil society and private sector organizations are invited to celebrate the event through in-person and virtual events on 7 September. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has launched a platform to register your event.

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Rakesh Raman