Air pollution represents a serious environmental problem, causing an estimated seven million premature deaths per year, and seriously impacting economic activities and ecosystems.
In support of this year’s World Environment Day and its theme Beat Air Pollution, the World Meteorological Organization has released an animation highlighting its contribution to the goal of reducing air pollution deaths by two thirds by 2030.
The animation from WMO’s Global Atmosphere Watch programme explains how air pollution is formed, particularly reflecting on the role of meteorological processes, and its impacts. It provides a snapshot of the services that WMO and its Members provide to monitor and forecast air quality.
World Environment Day is marked every 5 June with activities around the world. This year’s host country is China, with the official celebration taking place in the eastern city of Hangzhou.
In a message, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has emphasized the link between worsening levels of air pollution and the climate crisis.
With the environment facing “unprecedented perils,” caused by human activity, the UN chief said that action to fight climate change is “the battle of our lives.” We must win it by taxing pollution, ending fossil fuel subsidies, and halting the construction of new coal plants, said Mr Guterres.
WMO took the commitment at the World Health Organization’s First Air Pollution and Health conference to contribute to the reduction of the premature deaths from air pollution by providing the observational evidence of pollution levels and forecasts for acute air pollution episodes.
Specifically, WMO is committed to:
- Enhance availability and quality of observations of pollution such as black carbon, tropospheric ozone, atmospheric dust through the Global Atmosphere Watch network
- Increasingly include health impacts in key authoritative reports such as the annual statement on the state of the climate and assessments by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
- Lead global research and strengthen scientific knowledge on connections between air quality and climate and develop the science-based tools to support policy-making on air pollution and climate change mitigation. This includes through the development of the Integrated Global Greenhouse Gas Information System.
- Provide tools to reduce health risk via improved forecasts, warning and advisory services, for instance on sand and dust storms and heatwaves. Include air quality as part of integrated climate, health and urban services.
- Include health-related service components in WMO training and capacity development programmes.
The ongoing World Meteorological Congress Congress is considering a resolution on integrated urban and health services to strengthen international collaboration on cross-cutting issues, including air pollution.
Animation is available here
Details of WMO activities on the environment here
Bulletin article on Air Quality and Human Health, a priority for Joint Action
Global Atmosphere Watch information is here