The UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) says reducing air pollution requires a change in mindset of the people and the government.
The Director-General, UNESCO, Ms Audrey Azoulay said this on Wednesday through the organisation’s Twitter handle account to celebrate the day.
Celebrated for 45 years now, June 5 was earmarked by the UN to celebrate the environment and was used as a means of inspiring, informing and enabling nations and people to acknowledge the importance of the environment.
The day was also to help drum the need to improve quality of life and foster sustainable development for the well being of humankind and that of future generations.
With the theme, ‘Air Pollution’, Azoulay said it underlined how fragile life on Earth could be devoid of clean air to breathe.
She recalled that the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently reported that more than 90 per cent of the world’s population lived in areas with below standards for air quality.
“Millions of premature deaths worldwide can be traced to harmful substances in the atmosphere as a result of human activities and air pollution, which cost the global economy Five Trillion US Dollars yearly.
“Atmospheric pollution endangers our health, our habitats, but also our common environmental heritage.
”It has a negative impact on terrestrial, marine and coastal areas that affects the overall quality of life.
“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.
“Reducing air pollution requires not only technological change, but also a change of mindsets with regards to environmental issues, innovative policies and social regulation,” she said.
According to her, the closer people are to their natural environment, the more they will appreciate nature, biodiversity for a common heritage.
Azoulay said that the drive for preserving nature had guided UNESCO’s action for having a unique global network of designated sites to bring people closer to nature and restore peace beyond borders.
“The UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, Global Geoparks and World Heritage sites, often representing green lungs for the planet, bring together more than 2000 exceptional sites around the world.
“The sites cover an area as large as China, which is the host country to the year’s World Environment Day, and the sites combine conversation with education and innovative approaches to sustainable local development,” Azoulay said.
The director general, however, called on all countries to take action to reduce air pollution, reconnect to nature that sustained life, offered beauty, meaning and harmony round them