|The India Gate war memorial on 17 October 2019 (top), then on 8 April 2020 (bottom) after a 21-day nationwide COVID lockdown brought about a drop in air pollution levels. Source: Reuters/Anushree Fadnavis/Adnan Abidi|
The first WMO Air Quality and Climate Bulletin was issued with an accompanying animation in support of activities ahead of 7 September to mark the International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies established by the UN General Assembly in December 2019. The Day aims to raise awareness of the importance of clean air to health, the economy and the environment and to facilitate actions to improve air quality.
The Bulletin highlighted the main factors that influenced air quality patterns in 2020 in comparison to other years and presented episodes of both improvement and deterioration of air quality in different parts of the world. It demonstrates that air quality and climate change are closely connected. While human-caused emissions of air pollutants fell due to restrictions imposed during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, meteorological extremes fuelled by climate and environmental change triggered unprecedented sand and dust storms and wildfires that affected air quality.
A new edition of the Air Quality and Climate Bulletin with the latest scientific data and information will be released every year ahead of the International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies.