Air

Air pollution causes 7 million premature deaths every year: UN expert

David Boyd, special rapporteur on human rights and environment, urges countries to beat pollution and hence not violate people’s rights to life, health and wellbeing

 
By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Wednesday 05 June 2019
Air pollution causes 7 million premature deaths every year: UN expert
Photo: Getty Images Photo: Getty Images

David Boyd, special rapporteur on human rights and environment

Ahead of the World Environment Day, an independent United Nations expert on June 4, 2019 said air pollution is responsible for seven million premature deaths each year.  

David Boyd, UN special rapporteur on human rights and environment, also urged member states to beat air pollution to fulfil their human rights obligations. “Air pollution is a silent, invisible and prolific killer that is responsible for premature death of seven million people each year, disproportionately affecting women, children and poor communities,” said Boyd.

He added that right to a healthy environment is fundamental to human wellbeing and is legally recognised by more than 150 countries at national and regional levels.

“Failing to ensure clean air constitutes a violation of rights to life, health and wellbeing, as well as the right to live in a healthy environment. States must take urgent action to improve air quality to fulfil their human rights obligations," he added.

He also noted success stories of "drastically reducing air pollution" from across the world including China, which is hosting this year’s World Environment Day celebrations, the theme for which is air pollution.

"These stories prove that air pollution is a preventable problem," he said.

He reiterated seven key steps from his recent UN Human Rights Council report that States must take:

  1. Monitor air quality and impacts on human health
  2. Assess sources of air pollution
  3. Make information publicly available, including public health advisories
  4. Establish air quality legislation, regulations, standards and policies
  5. Develop air quality action plans at local, national and, if necessary, regional levels
  6. Implement air quality action plan and enforce the standards
  7. Evaluate progress and, if necessary, strengthen the plan to ensure the standards are met

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