According to the United Nations, June 5th is celebrated as the World Environment Day. Today, Nigerians join the rest of the world in the celebration of the 2019 World Environment Day (WED) themed, ‘Beat Air Pollution’ - a call to action to end pollution of the environment.
This year’s topic invites everyone to consider how to change their everyday lives to reduce the amount of air pollution they produce and thwart its contribution to global warming and its effects on their own health. Over the years, it has grown to be a broad global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated by stakeholders in over 100 countries. It also serves as the ‘people’s day’ for doing something positive for the environment, galvanizing individual actions into a collective power that generates an exponential positive impact on the planet.
This year’s WED is being hosted by China, with the theme ‘Air Pollution: We can’t stop breathing, but we can do something about the quality of air’. It has been established that approximately, 7 million people worldwide die prematurely each year from air pollution, with about 4 million of these deaths occurring in Asia-Pacific. Around 3.8 million premature deaths are caused by indoor air pollution each year, the vast majority of them in the developing world.
In many countries, energy production is a leading source of air pollution. Coal-burning power plants are a major contributor, while diesel generators are a growing concern in off-grid areas. The global transport sector accounts for almost one-quarter of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions and this proportion is rising, says the UN.
Transport emissions have been linked to nearly 400,000 premature deaths. Open waste burning and organic waste in landfills release harmful dioxins, furans, methane and black carbon into the atmosphere. Globally, an estimated 40 per cent of waste is openly burnt. Other sources that are not caused by humans include volcanic eruptions, dust storms and other natural processes.
On how to beat air pollution, experts have advised that the Governments, industries, communities, and individuals have been urged to come together to explore renewable energy and green technologies, and improve air quality in cities and regions across the world.