UN Urges Fighting Air Pollution Leading to Premature Death Every Five Seconds
New York (UN) – An independent UN expert said that the failure of governments across the world to ensure clear air, constitutes a violation of the rights to life, health and well-being, as well as the right to live in a healthy environment.
Ahead of the 2019 World Environment Day on Wednesday, which has air pollution as its theme, David Boyd, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, called on states to take urgent action to improve air quality in order to fulfill their human rights obligations.
Air pollution is a deadly, man-made problem, responsible for the early deaths of some seven million people every year, around 600,000 of whom are children. It is estimated that 90 per cent of the world’s population breathe polluted air.
Every five seconds, somebody around the world dies prematurely as a result.
In a statement, Boyd said that uncontaminated air is a core component of the right to a healthy environment, together with clean water and adequate sanitation, healthy and sustainably produced food, a non-toxic environment, healthy biodiversity and a safe climate.
“The right to a healthy environment is fundamental to human well-being and is legally recognized by over 150 States at the national and regional levels. It should be globally reaffirmed to ensure the enjoyment of this right by everyone, everywhere while upholding the human rights principles of universality and non-discrimination,” he said.