Celebrated every year 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.
This year, China will host World Environment Day, with events taking place in the eastern city of Hangzhou; in addition, there will be a large number of events and celebrations around the world.
The theme of World Environment Day 2019 is #BeatAirPollution, 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.
Approximately 7 million people worldwide die prematurely each year from air pollution, with about 4 million of these deaths occurring in Asia-Pacific. World Environment Day 2019 will urge governments, industry, communities, and individuals to come together to explore renewable energy and green technologies, and improve air quality in cities and regions across the world.
This complex, existential challenge demands immediate attention and action. More than 6 billion people, one-third of them children, regularly breathe air that is so polluted it puts their health and well-being at risk. That’s 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 middle income 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. 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.
Air Pollution facts
• 92 per cent of people worldwide do not breathe clean air
• Air pollution costs the global economy $5 trillion every year in welfare costs
• Ground-level ozone pollution is expected to reduce staple crop yields by 26 per cent by 2030
From 24 May through #WorldEnvironmentDay on June 5, UN Environment is calling on everyone to join the Mask Challenge on social media. Face masks are a great symbol to show leaders we want to breathe clean air. Alongside celebrities like Dia Mirza, influencers and creators, the World Environment Day campaign invites everyone to:
1. Make a pledge and challenge others to take action
• Take a photo or video of yourself wearing a mask to post on social media. Don’t have a mask? Get creative and make your own!
• In your post share the action you’ll take to reduce air pollution
• Tag 3 people/organizations/ companies to challenge them to do the same.
2. On World Environment Day, show how you have fulfilled your pledge!
• Take another photo or video of yourself fulfilling your commitment and post it on social media.
Follow the campaign on #WorldEnvironmentDay, #BeatAirPollution, and @UNEnvironment.
For more information, interviews and details on accreditation, contact:
• Keishamaza Rukikaire, Head of News and Media, UN Environment firstname.lastname@example.org
• Shari Nijman, UN Environment News and Media, email@example.com +254 720673046
• Moses Osani, UN Environment News and Media, firstname.lastname@example.org