5 June 2019

Take action this World Environment Day to #BeatAirPollution

Since 1974, every 5 June has been designated World Environment Day. The day aims to encourage individuals, governments, and industry to contribute to a more sustainable future.

The theme of World Environment Day 2019 is Air Pollution. The United Nations has provided suggestions on how individuals can join the campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of air pollution, and take concrete action to improve air quality.

Each year one country is chosen to host World Environment Day. This years’ host is China, and the majority of events are thus taking place there. However, ICLEI Member Brussels (Belgium) is nonetheless also hosting events to celebrate the day. The city held the “Festival de l’environnement 2019” from 31 May to 2 June, and a “Fête du vélo” on 2 June. All individuals and local governments are also invited to join in online with the digital campaign #BeatAirPollution.

Many ICLEI Europe projects aim to improve air quality, whether through sustainable mobility solutions, nature-based solutions, energy, or other themes.

ICLEI Members have also been working to lessen local air pollution. This year, Glasgow (United Kingdom) introduced Scotland’s first Low Emission Zone; all vehicles in the area must meet certain exhaust standards. To combat air pollution, Brussels has implemented a rule whereby public transport is free on high air pollution days. And, for several years now, Warsaw (Poland) has run campaigns to improve local air quality. Their efforts include sending eco-educators to homes facing the highest pollution levels, and needs-based subsidies schemes to support efforts to improve air quality – such as replacing old coal furnaces, connecting buildings to the district heating network, and subsidies for purchasing and installing renewable energy sources.

World Environment Day comes on the heels of World Bicycle Day that sought to encourage UN Member States to support bicycle transit in their mobility policies, plans and projects.

This World Environment Day, ICLEI Europe encourages our Members, readers and community to take stock of what we are doing to build a more sustainable future and areas where we can continue to improve. What’s more, we invite everyone to do one thing today that will better the Earth.

For more information on World Environment Day, including access to quizzes, infographics, and ideas for citizen action, click here.