In a message posted on his Twitter account, the UNSG urged to invest in renewable energy, quickly abandon fossil fuels and recycle waste instead of burning it.
Guterres in particular pointed to the significance of encouraging the use of zero-emission vehicles and alternative modes of transportation, as well as increasing access to clean cooking, heating and cooling.
The UNSG also advocated for laws to meet World Health Organization (WHO) air quality guidelines and “credible plans” to reduce emissions from automobiles, power plants, construction and industry.
“These actions would save millions of lives each year, slow climate change and accelerate sustainable development,” Guterres said.
Yet Guterres recalled dirty air currently affects 99% of the planet’s inhabitants, and the poor are the ones who suffer the most, especially women and girls, whose health suffers from cooking and heating with dirty fuels.
When people are exposed to air pollution and extreme heat, their risk of death is 20% higher.
In 2019, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) designated September 7 as the International Day of Clean Air for Blue Sky, in order to raise awareness of this issue at all levels and take action on it.