On the last day of the United Nations Environment Assembly, Zhao Yingmin, Vice Minister of Ecology and Environment, and Joyce Msuya, Acting Head of UN Environment, jointly announced that China will host the global World Environment Day celebrations on 5 June 2019 with a theme of air pollution.
Approximately 7 million people worldwide die prematurely each year from air pollution, with about 4 million of these deaths occurring in Asia-Pacific. World Environment Day 2019 will urge governments, industry, communities, and individuals to improve air quality in cities and regions across the world by putting in place solutions across a wide range of sectors.
The Chinese Government will organize World Environment Day celebrations across multiple cities, with Hangzhou, in the province of Zhejiang, to host the main event.
The announcement comes as environment ministers from across the globe participated in the world’s highest-level environmental forum in Nairobi. Negotiations at the Fourth UN Environment Assembly 11-15 March are expected to tackle critical issues that affect air pollution, such as stopping food waste and promoting the spread of electric cars. It also follows the publication of a review report of 20 Years’ of air pollution control in Beijing.
“China will be a great global host of 2019’s World Environment Day celebrations,” said Joyce Msuya at the announcement on Friday. “The country has demonstrated tremendous leadership in tackling air pollution domestically. It can now help spur the world to greater action. Air pollution is a global emergency affecting everyone. China will now be leading the push and stimulating global action to save millions of lives.”
Helena Molin Valdés, Head of the UN Environment hosted Climate and Clean Air Coalition Secretariat welcomed the air pollution theme saying it would help tackle the largest environmental threat to health.
“Millions of people die prematurely every year from complications caused by polluted air. Air pollution impacts the most vulnerable in our society and threatens future generations by warming our planet,” Ms. Molin Valdés said. “This World Environment Day the world must make a commitment to improve air quality everywhere. We have the solutions. We must act now.”
China with its growing green energy sector, has emerged as a climate leader. The country owns half the world’s electric vehicles and 99 percent of the world’s electric buses. By hosting World Environment Day 2019, the Chinese government will be able to showcase its innovation and progress toward a cleaner environment.
According to a new UN report on air pollution in Asia and the Pacific, implementing 25 technology policies could see up to a 20 per cent reduction in carbon dioxide and a 45 per cent reduction in methane emissions globally, leading to a third of a degree Celsius saving of global warming.
World Environment Day is a UN Environment-led global event, which takes place on June 5 every year and is celebrated by thousands of communities worldwide.
Since it began in 1972, it has grown to become the single largest celebration of our environment each year.
Stay informed by visiting the official World Environment Day site. The site will have more information in the coming weeks.