Joyce Msuya, Acting Executive Director, UNEP, shared a message from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that underscores the global costs of air pollution, estimated at United States dollars 5 trillion annually.
"As there will be environmental and air pollution problems, environmental conservation plans including waste disposal and air pollution control must be prepared and carried out", said U Win Myint.
The health implications recorded include respiratory diseases, cancer, brain injury in children, among many others, with high mortality rates.
Since its inception in 1974, World Environment Day has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in more than 100 countries. This year the forest department distributed 64 lakh saplings of tamarind, guava and mango to spread awareness on beating air pollution, he said. Olatunji, who spoke in Abeokuta, Ogun State yesterday, also said 72 per cent of Nigerians are exposed to air pollution daily by cooking with solid fuels. It's not acceptable that so many people around the world are being forced to breathe polluted, toxic air.
She called for a holistic approach that would strengthen the synergies among stakeholders, policies and all interventions to deal with the root cause of air pollution. The report explains that the use of coal and firewood for home heating is responsible for particulate matter (PM) emissions, and that air quality can be improved by providing greater access to modern, clean energy. Rallying worldwide efforts under the theme 'Beat Air Pollution, ' this year's World Environment Day will emphasize the importance of measuring and protecting air quality, as an important contribution to human and economic development. The plan commits to addressing the sources of air pollution in the area, including from road dust, vehicle emissions, burning of garbage, and construction and demolition activities. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around seven million premature deaths are attributable to air pollution each year, or about 800 people every hour, and this has affected the economy and contributed to global warming.
The effort will require sound long-term policies and global cooperation, he said.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Standards Authority, Professor Alex Dodoo, said Ghana had standards to ensure that air quality was ensured and said the GSA would continue to collaborate with other stakeholders to uphold those standards.