World Environment Day, 2019!
This year World Environment Day’s theme is #BeatAirPollution and is being hosted by China. The World Environment Day is a UN Environment-led global event, which takes place on June 5th every year and is celebrated by thousands of countries worldwide. Last year, India hosted the World Environment Day in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced to eliminate all single-use plastic in the country by 2022. China has demonstrated tremendous leadership in tackling air pollution domestically. It can now help spur the world to greater action.
According to a new UN report on air pollution in the Asia-Pacific region, implementing 25 technology policies could see up to 20 per cent reduction in carbon dioxide and 45 per cent reduction in methane emissions globally, leading to a third of a degree Celsius saving of global warming. According to World Economic Forum, air pollution, caused largely by burning fossil fuels, is cutting global life expectancy by an average of 1.8 years per person, making it the world’s top killer. Research at The University of Chicago’s Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) shows people in parts of India, could live 11 years less due to high levels of air pollution. Researchers at MIT have discovered that air pollution in China’s cities may be contributing to low levels of happiness amongst the country’s urban population. Research has previously also shown that air pollution is damaging to health, cognitive performance, labor productivity, and educational outcomes. Along with this, air pollution also has a broader impact on people’s social lives and behavior
Ordinarily, the solutions to air pollution have focused on establishing a mix of technological solutions, regulations and policies, and encouraging behavioral change. But just talking about air pollution is not enough. Efforts need to comprise of collective will and adoption of sustainable practices at both the individual and state, national or district level. From the management and governance point of view, a lot needs to get solved and understood about sustainability trends so that policies are more effective in the real world. A reasonable starting point might be to encourage better enforcement of the laws that are already on paper. Making all regulatory data on industrial air pollution transparent and publicly available could be an important part of the solution.As much as anti-pollution laws are established and technological advancements progressively aim at minimizing air pollution, it is not just enough. Awareness creation is the number one factor to consider because it will make people realize and understand the sources and effects of air pollution. From this point, it makes it easier for people to take personal or collective initiatives to reduce air pollution.
As previously witnessed, it takes serious tragedies to occur like the Chernobyl catastrophe for actions to be taken. Nevertheless, raising awareness through campaigns and advocacy can significantly address such situations from happening in the first place. It can simply be done through an educative process that helps people realize the causes and effects of air pollution. In any case, people contribute to air pollution in multiple ways without even knowing. By raising awareness, it can help minimize the causes of air pollution.
This World Environment Day let’s pledge to take efforts to provide a healthy and breathable environment for our current and future generations. Plant and Greet with Trees through Grow-Trees to make a change happen in the pollution levels through trees.