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Why is World Environment Day celebrated, what is the theme of this year and why is it so important?
Today, June 5, we celebrate World Environment Day to raise awareness and promote actions to take care of the planet worldwide. Currently, this commemoration, which takes place since 1974, acquires a fundamental role in the sustainable development of humanity and to achieve planetary well-being.
Leer en español: Todo lo que debes saber del Día Mundial del Medio Ambiente
According to the UN, "the celebration of this day gives us the opportunity to broaden the foundations of a well-informed public opinion and of the behavior of individuals, companies, and communities inspired by the sense of their responsibility as to the conservation and improvement of the environment". This year the host country is China and the fight against air pollution will be the protagonist in this version.
During this day, the UN urges the different social actors to unite and seek viable and effective solutions to end this problem that annually takes the lives of 7 million people. According to figures from the United Nations, 92% of the world's population does not breathe clean air, which means that 9 out of 10 people experience pollution levels higher than those recommended by WHO. The idea is to eradicate this scourge by means of the implementation of renewable energies and sustainable technology that allow the transition of fossil fuels such as oil and gas.
This day is so that, as citizens, we all do something for the planet and understand the magnitude of the human impact on Earth. Our actions alone can reverberate on a large scale and motivate others to take care of the planet. The purpose for 2019 is to progressively eliminate our individual contribution to global warming and, in this way, stop its pernicious effects on our health, and that of the planet.
Why is China the host country?
UN Environment Deputy Executive Director Joyce Msuya explained that "China will be a great global host of the celebrations of World Environment Day 2019. The country has demonstrated tremendous leadership in addressing air pollution at the national level. can urge the world to respond more to this global emergency that affects us all, China will lead the drive to save millions of lives. "
The Asian giant is an example for the rest of the nations since it owns 50% of electric cars and 99% of electric buses. The public policies that are being implemented in Asia could reduce 45% of global methane emissions by 20% of carbon dioxide emissions. The UN emphasizes that this would allow the temperature to increase by 0.3 ° C.
What are the main causes of air pollution?
The UN states that there are 5 human causes that produce pollution and that affect air quality:
1. Industry: the production of energy by burning fossil fuels such as coal are a major source of pollution.
2. Transportation: the emissions produced by cars, buses and other means of transport are equivalent to a quarter of the total figure. These emissions have caused the premature death of 400 thousand people.
3. Agriculture: the agricultural sector is responsible for the enormous amounts of methane and ammonia produced by livestock and the emissions produced by burning waste. 24% of polluting gases come from agriculture.
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4. Household: the burning of fossil fuels, biomass, and wood is the first cause of pollution in terms of households. Each year, 3.8 million people die from this type of pollution.
5. Residues: As in agriculture, the burning of waste in the open releases toxins harmful to air quality and health such as methane.
What can we do?
Caring for the planet is a task for everyone, from citizens to the largest companies. This means that absolutely everyone must contribute to take care of the Earth and depending on their position, their actions must be bigger.
- In the case of an ordinary person taking care of the air can be done with actions such as: using means of transport that do not pollute such as the bicycle and the skates; do not burn waste in the open air; use renewable energy and buy sustainable technology; support private and public causes that promote the transition to renewable energies.
- As a company or industry, these entities must follow the regulation of emissions of polluting gases and look for strategies that allow them to reduce their environmental footprint. Additionally, they must promote the sustainable practices of their employees and consumers.
- At the governmental level, governments must comply with the regulations imposed at the international level, inform society about the causes of pollution, promote research and propose solutions; support and encourage innovation in sustainable energy and technology; among others.
And you, how are you going to celebrate World Environment Day?
LatinAmerican Post | Marcela Peñaloza
Translated from "Todo lo que debes saber del Día Mundial del Medio Ambiente"