04.06.2019 - UNESCO Office in Brasilia

UNESCO message for the World Environment Day - Air Pollution underlines the fragility of life on Earth

Message from Ms Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO on the occasion of the World Environment Day, “Air Pollution”, 5 June 2019

For forty-five  years, World  Environment  Day  has  been  a  vehicle  for  inspiring,  informing, and enabling nations and peoples to acknowledge the importance of the environment, improve quality of life, and foster sustainable development for the well-being of humankind and that of future generations. 

This year’s theme, “Air Pollution”, underlines the fragility of life on Earth without air that is clean and safe to breathe. The World Health Organization recently reported that more than 90% of the world’s population lives in areas where levels of air pollution do not meet safe standards. Millions of premature deaths worldwide can  be  traced  to  harmful  substances  in  the atmosphere as  a  result  of  human activities.  Air  pollution  costs  the  global  economy  US$ 5  trillion  every  year  in  welfare.

Atmospheric pollution endangers our health, our habitats, but also our common environmental heritage. It has a negative impact on terrestrial, marine and coastal areas, and causes disturbances in regulatory ecosystems   that are fundamental for the overall quality of life of human societies, and for the health of lands, seas and other living species.

Reducing   air   pollution   is   about   protecting   the   environment,   preserving   biodiversity,  and  mitigating  climate  change,  which  make up  some  of  the  most  pressing challenges of today.

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