Clean air, free from dust and smoke, is an essential requirement for human beings and all life on Earth. Unfortunately, industrialization, which began around the mid-19th century, polluted our air and water sources heavily, leading to severe disorders of the lungs and heart and causes millions of premature deaths annually.
Air pollution also negatively impacts Earth’s delicate ecosystems, biodiversity and climate. September 7 is celebrated annually as the International Day of Clean Air for blue skies to address this very issue. Below we look at the Day’s history and this year’s theme for the event.
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF CLEAN AIR FOR BLUE SKIES 2021: HISTORY
The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), at the 52nd plenary meeting of its seventy-fourth session on sustainable development, on December 19, 2019, adopted a resolution by which September 7 became the International Day of Clean Air for blue skies. 2020 marked the first international observance of the Day with the theme “Clean Air for All.” The Day is observed by the UN Member States, UN organisations, governmental and non-governmental organisations across the globe and individuals.
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF CLEAN AIR FOR BLUE SKIES 2021: THE RESOLUTION
The UN adopted the resolution mentioned above, in recognition of the necessity to bring down the number of casualties and ailments from pollutants like chemicals in the air, water and soil by the year 2030. The resolution also emphasises the need to reduce contaminants in our environment and minimise our harmful impacts on it through air quality and waste management.
The UN resolution report called for strong international cooperation for research and collection of data about air quality and to find solutions to air pollution. It underscored the importance of public awareness about air quality issues. The report also highlighted that clean air can help reduce the severity of climate change.
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF CLEAN AIR FOR BLUE SKIES 2021: THEME
“Healthy Air, Healthy Planet” is the theme for this year’s observance of the International Day of Clean Air for blue skies, as noted on the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) website. Apart from the themes mentioned, this year’s programme also focuses on climate change and sustainable development. Official ceremonies will take place in New York, Nairobi and Bangkok.