In 2019, the UN decided to declare September 7 the “International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies”. With the Corona-related lockdown, images went around the world showing blue skies where visibility is otherwise severely restricted by polluted air. We have also published a number of articles on this topic, whereby not only the concrete effects on cities were examined, but also the effects on health were questioned. Read more here.
This year, the UN is putting the day under the motto “Healthy Air, Healthy Planet” and thus combines two important aspects: Polluted air is a problem for health AND for the climate.
Some air pollutants, such as black carbon, methane and ground-level ozone, are also short-lived climate pollutants. On the one hand, they are responsible for a significant proportion of deaths caused by air pollution, as well as for the effects on plants and thus food security. On the other hand, about half of climate change is caused by short-lived climate pollutants. So that their reduction will have simultaneous benefits for the climate.
Here, too, silos must be torn down in thinking: It is not a question of taking care of air quality OR climate protection – often unfortunately only understood as CO2 reduction – but of tackling both together. This is not only a global challenge that can only be solved by local approaches but also offers great opportunities and synergy effects thanks to modern technologies.