United Nations, June 6: This year's World Environment day was hosted by China, with the official celebration taking place in the eastern city of Hangzhou, making a significant stride to tackle air pollution.
The celebrations took place on Wednesday in the presence of senior Chinese government officials and Joyce Msuya, Acting Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme, (UNEP).
The theme for 2019 is 'air pollution', calling on governments, industry, communities and individuals to take action to explore renewable energy and green technologies, and improve the air quality in cities and regions across the world.Although the rapid development of many Chinese cities has led to poor air quality, and associated health problems for many citizens, the country has made significant strides in addressing the problem in recent years.
In the Chinese capital, Beijing, which has become almost synonymous with air pollution, the concentration of the tiny, deadly elements largely responsible for deaths and illnesses in the air, has fallen by a third over the past two decades, beating the target set by the State Council, China’s main administrative body.
Speaking to UN News ahead of World Environment Day, Tiy Chung, Communications Officer for the Climate & Clean Air Coalition at UNEP, said that Beijing is “showing the way,” by taking the issue very seriously, and implementing strong policies. The city, he said, has taken a systematic approach based on good science, and coordinated successfully with surrounding cities and regions.
Looking at other cities and countries, Chung is hopeful that the world is moving in the right direction. “We are getting at a mix of good policies and technologies. Innovative low-emission technology is at the forefront of a new revolution driven by policies pushing for lower air pollution and de-carbonisation of economy.”
World Environment Day, widely celebrated in over 100 countries, is the United Nations day for encouraging international awareness and action to protect the environment. (UNI)