The United Nations General Assembly has declared September 7th as the International Day of Clean Air for blue skies. Starting in 2020, this annual event aims to raise awareness about the effects air pollution on human health, the environment and development and ratchets up political commitment to reduce air pollution. It will provide a platform for strengthening global solidarity through conducting research and sharing best practices.
In late 2019, the Republic of Korea proposed and negotiated a Resolution in the UN General Assembly to hold an annual International Day of Clean Air for blue skies, with the first International Day taking place on September 7, 2020, to raise public awareness as well as promote and facilitate actions to improve air quality.
Objectives of the International Day
In recent years the topic of air pollution control has gained in importance in public discourse in industrialized and, above all, emerging and developing countries. The effects of poor air quality on human health, the climate and the environment have been proven by numerous studies and are now known to broad sections of the population (even if often not in detail), and the right to clean air is increasingly being demanded.
UN Member States recognize the need to substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination by 2030, as well as to reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management by 2030.
The aim of the International Day of Clean Air for blue skies is to enhance international cooperation to attain clean air. The Day is expected to raise global awareness of the need to improve air quality to benefit of human and ecosystem health, global climate and sustainable development goals, and food and water security. The Day will promote known solutions and responses to air pollution such as the benefits of collecting and utilizing air quality data, areas for increased scientific research and share best practices for air quality management.
The Day aims to educate the public on the vital ecosystem services our atmosphere provides – as the source of the air we breathe, as a regulator of our climate, etc. – and on the wide-ranging impacts of air pollution in order to mobilize political will, resources, and national and international cooperation to improve air quality and to celebrate and showcase progress. Finally, the Day aims to bring together diverse international actors working on the topic of air pollution to form a strategic alliance to gain momentum for concerted national, regional and international approaches for effective air quality management.