- The UN says nine out of 10 people worldwide are now breathing polluted air
- According to António Guterres, polluted air kills some 7 million people each year
- Going further, the UN chief said that polluted air also causes long term health problems
As the issue of climate change continues to dominate private and public discussions in most countries, the United Nations (UN) on June 5, during this year’s World Environment Day revealed that nine out of 10 people worldwide are breathing polluted air.
According to António Guterres, UN secretary-general who disclosed this in a statement published on the UN website, the polluted air 'kills some 7 million people each year.'
The UN chief also disclosed that polluted air also causes long term health problems, such as asthma, and at the same reduces children’s cognitive development.
"To improve air quality, we must know our enemy. Deaths and illnesses from air pollution are caused by tiny particles that penetrate our defences every time we fill our lungs. These particles come from many sources: the burning of fossil fuels for power and transport; the chemicals and mining industries; the open burning of waste; the burning of forests and fields; and the use of dirty indoor cooking and heating fuels, which are major problems in the developing world.
"This polluted air kills some 7 million people each year, causes long term health problems, such as asthma, and reduces children’s cognitive development. According to the World Bank, air pollution costs societies more than $5 trillion every year," Guterres stated.
Going further, Guterres emphasised the need for a green economy and urged governments worldwide to take decisive actions in ending causes of air pollution.
"Today, we face an equally urgent crisis. It is time to act decisively. My message to governments is clear: tax pollution; end fossil fuel subsidies; and stop building new coal plants. We need a green economy not a grey economy," he added.
However, in a related development, United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, has called on all Nigerians to join the mask challenge for the protection of the environment and human health.
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"In a lead up to the #WorldEnvironmentDay , United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos call on everyone to join the #MaskChallenge to #BeatAirPollution in order to protect the environment and human health," UNIC posted on its Facebook page.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had reported that Nigeria's Ambassador Tijjani Mohammad Bande the newly-elected president of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly promised to focus on ‘peace and prosperity’ for most vulnerable.
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