WED: Clean air is human right, says UN

Tomorrow June 5, China will be the host of the global 2019 World Environment Day celebration which has the theme “#BeatAirPollution.” Against this background, the United Nations environment body has described clean air as a human right, even as in Africa, about 475 World Environment Day related events are scheduled to hold.

Celebrated annually on June 5, World Environment Day is the United Nations’ biggest annual event for positive environmental action to encourage worldwide awareness of the need to protect our planet. Since the first World Environment Day in 1974, the event has grown to become a global platform for positive public outreach on the environment in over 100 countries.

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This year, China will host World Environment Day, with events taking place in the eastern city of Hangzhou; in addition, there will be a a large number of events and celebrations around the world.

In Nigeria, RecycleGarb Hub Ltd will be collaborating with other environment interest groups and the Oyo State environment ministry to plant 200 trees within the metropolitan area of West Africa’s largest city, Ibadan.

Similar events will also take place in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, and other parts of Nigeria.

In Africa, not less than 475 of such events are scheduled to hold. This is according to World Environment Day Global website.

The theme of World Environment Day 2019, #BeatAirPollution, is calling on governments, industry, communities and individuals to take action to explore renewable energy and green technologies, and improve the air quality in cities and regions across the world.

This complex, existential challenge demands immediate attention and action.

A United Nations Environment (UNEP) explained the significance of the celebration in a relaease.

It said more than six billion people, one-third of them children, regularly breathe air that is so polluted it puts their health and well-being at risk.

“That is more than 90 per cent of the world’s population. In many developing countries, people face the double burden of indoor and outdoor pollution.

“Air pollution also goes to the heart of social justice and global inequality. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 97 per cent of cities in low- and middleincome countries with more than 100,000 inhabitants do not meet air quality guidelines. That percentage falls to 49 in high-income countries.

“The good news is that air pollution is preventable. The solutions — laws, standards, policies, programmes, investments and technologies — are widely known and can be implemented.”

According to the UN body on environment, “Clean air is a human right. It is everyone’s right and everyone’s responsibility. Each one of us has a role to play in ensuring that the air we breathe does not end up killing us.”