The Mayors of 35 cities around the world today announced a pledge to meet WHO air quality guidelines by 2030, delivering clean air for the more than 140 million people living in their cities.
The 35 cities, which included BreatheLife members Bengaluru, Lima, London, Medellín, Mexico City, Oslo, Paris, Seoul and Washington, D.C., were gathered at the C40 World Mayors Summit in Copenhagen., where city leaders, businesses and citizens from around the world have gathered to rally around climate action and share examples and experiences of successful action and challenges.
According to the announcement, if the 35 signatories were to reduce annual average fine particle pollution (PM2.5) levels to WHO guidelines of 10 ug/m3, 40,000 deaths could be avoided each year.
“By signing the C40 Clean Air Cities Declaration, the mayors recognise that breathing clean air is a human right and commit to work together to form an unparalleled global coalition for clean air,” it read.
The pledge commits the cities to setting ambitious pollution reduction targets, implementing substantive clean air policies by 2025, and publicly reporting on their progress to generate a “race to the top” for healthy air.
The cities signing the C40 Clean Air Cities Declaration are:
Amman, Austin, Bengaluru, Barcelona, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Delhi, Dubai, Durban (eThekwini), Guadalajara, Heidelberg, Houston, Jakarta, Los Angeles, Lima, Lisbon, London, Madrid, Medellin, Mexico City, Milan, Oslo, Paris, Portland, Quezon City, Quito, Rotterdam, Seoul, Stockholm, Sydney, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Tokyo, Warsaw, Washington D.C.
The Declaration includes this message for all responsible actors: “We will use all the powers at our disposal as mayors to tackle air pollution, and call on others responsible for the sources of air pollution that poison the air in our cities to match this commitment.”
According to the WHO, nine out of 10 citizens around the world breathe unhealthy air, and 7 million people die premature each year due to air pollution, which also takes a trillion-dollar toll on human productivity and health.
The human activities that generate the emissions that drive climate change also produce health-harmful air pollutants, a relationship that has seen the health impacts of both rise in discussions on climate change.
Mayors, speaking at a press conference in Copenhagen had a clear message “We know we need to tackle the twin dangers of air pollution and the climate emergency. Both need swift, unprecedented and collective action to remove the pollution that is harming our health and warming our planet.”
Today’s Declaration complements commitments taken at the Climate Action Summit 2019 last month, in which 40 national governments and over 70 cities pledged to get air quality down to safe levels, including by quantifying the health benefits of policies and reporting on their action; as well as a commitment announced by over 10,000 cities of the Global Covenant of Mayors focused on achieving air quality that is safe for citizens and to aligning climate change and air pollution policies by 2030.
Read the C40 press release: 35 CITIES UNITE TO CLEAN THE AIR THEIR CITIZENS BREATHE, PROTECTING THE HEALTH OF MILLIONS
Banner photo by World Resources Institute/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0