UN Environment and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) have announced a new partnership to cut air pollution, which leads to 7 million deaths across the world each year.
The partnership will be supported by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) who will be working to create an air quality monitoring network that will eventually link almost 1,000 athletics tracks around the world.
The five-year partnership was announced coinciding with the conclusion of the World Health Assembly in Geneva. Nearly 91 per cent of the world’s population breathes air that does not meet World Health Organization air quality guideline levels.
“Getting the world of athletics taking action on air quality is a massive breakthrough for action on this issue. Everyone loses if the air is dirty. But this plan to get 1000 monitors on tracks, support from greats such as Seb Coe and Haile Gebrselassie, I am sure we can begin to clean the skies across the world.” said Erik Solheim, Executive Director, UN Environment.
The key objectives of the partnership between IAAF, UN Environment and CCAC are:
- Create an air quality monitoring network by collecting data from all IAAF certified tracks around the world – approximately 1,000 – within five years.
- Work with international NGOs and partners to create a real time air quality database with global coverage.
- Create a major city network of air quality monitors that can help runners choose the best times to run in their cities
- Work with local and national governments to better understand the effects of air quality on the quality of life in communities.
- Study the correlation of air quality on the performance of athletes (with the IAAF Health and Science Department)
- Lead and join global campaigns for cleaner air
Here’s a video message from IAAF Ambassador, world champion long-distance runner and Olympian Paula Radcliffe.
Read more about the partnership here: Athletics joins race to beat global air pollution crisis