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1st International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies 2020: September 7 

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First International Day of Clean Air for blue skiesThe United Nations'(UN) 1st International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies is observed on September 7, 2020 across the world to emphasize the need for further efforts to improve air quality, including reducing air pollution, to protect human health.

The day also highlights that air pollution is now the biggest environmental threat to health, but it is preventable. 

Theme for 2020- “Clean Air for All”.

Aim of the Day

i.To raise public awareness at all levels(individual, community, corporate and government)that clean air is vital for health, productivity, the economy and the environment.

ii.To demonstrate the close link of air quality to other environmental/developmental challenges like,(most and foremost) climate change and the global Sustainable Development Goals.  

iii.To promote and  facilitate solutions that will  improve air quality by sharing actionable knowledge best practices, innovations, and success stories.

iv.To unite various international actors who work on this topic, in order to form a strategic alliance to gain momentum for united national, regional and international approaches for effective air quality management 

Background

i.The United Nations General Assembly(UNGA) during its 74th session adopted the resolution (A/RES/74/212) on December 19, 2019 to hold the day.

ii.UNGA also invited the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to ease the observance of the day, in collaboration with other relevant organizations.

iii.The Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) in association with UNEP and the Republic of Korea advocated for the day which led up to the decision.

Prakash Javadekar to Chair a Webinar on the Occasion

In India, Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister of Environment,Forest and climate change, will chair a webinar on this occasion. During the  course of the webinar he will review the progress of the activities under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP).It was organized by Ministry of Environment,Forest and Climate Change.

Shri Javadekar alongwith Minister of State,Shri Babul Supriyo and Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Shri R P Gupta launched a booklet on Measures to Combat Air Pollution under NCAP. 

Key People:

The Principal Secretaries of the Urban Development Department and Environment Department of 28 states and 8 Union Territories along with Commissioners of 122 cities as identified in the NCAP programme, will participate in the webinar.

2 Fold Problem- The two-fold problem due to Air pollution is Health impact and Climate impact.

Facts about Air Pollution

i.It is the only greatest environmental risk to human health and one of the leading avoidable causes of death and disease globally

ii.9 out of every 10 people breathe unclean air around the world.

iii.It contributes to heart disease, strokes, lung cancer and other respiratory diseases.

iv.Especially in developing countries, air pollution affects women, children and the elderly excessively, particularly in low-income populations.

v.It poses a threat to the economy, food security and the environment.

Report

i.As per the “2019 World Air Quality Report-Region & City PM2.5 Ranking” compiled by IQAir AirVisual, India ranked 5th as the most polluted country in the world and topped in an annual list of cities with the worst air quality in the world.

ii.6 Indian Cities make up in the  world’s 10 most-polluted urban areas. Ghaziabad tops the list.

iii.Delhi spotted in 5th rank followed by Noida , Gurugram, while Greater Noida in 9th rank followed by Bandhwari.

Note- It is to be noted that Delhi, has recorded several blue-sky “good” air days since March 25, 2020, i.e., due to lockdown.

COVID-19 & Air Pollution

i.It is to be noted that increases the risks associated with COVID-19.

ii.The lockdowns which were imposed due to pandemic have caused the emissions to fall dramatically, which provides a glimpse of cleaner air in many cities.

iii.Emissions are already rising again, in some places higher than pre-COVID levels.

Sustainable Development Goals & Policies

i.The countries have committed to promote sustainable development policies that support healthy air quality in the context of sustainable cities and human settlements due to the outcome document, entitled “The future we want”, of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development .

ii.The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes that decrease in air pollution is important to attain the Sustainable Development Goals.

Recent Related News:

i.United Nations’(UN) First World Chess Day is celebrated on 20th July, 2020 all over the world. This day also marks the 96th Anniversary of the International Chess Federation (FIDE – Fédération Internationale des Échecs).

ii.Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi informed that country observed the 1st Muslim Women Rights Day across India in accordance with the 1st anniversary of the passage of Muslim Women Act (Protetion on Rights on Marriage Act) 2019 on 1st August 2019 which against the act of triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat and help to achieve gender equality for Muslim women as Muslim Women Rights Day.

About UN:
Secretary General– Antonio Guterres
HeadQuarters– New York, United States