05/06/19 Everything To Know About World Environment Day 2019

Today is World Environment Day. A time when the world collectively reflects on pressing environmental issues and seeks to raise awareness of ways in which we can all contribute in order to preserve this beautiful planet we share with one another.

The international event was founded in 1972 by the General Assembly, who designated the 5th of June as World Environment Day to commemorate the first major conference on environmental issues at the United Nations. The objective of the landmark conference over forty years ago remains the same to this day: to urge “governments and the organisations in the United Nations system to undertake on that day every year worldwide activities reaffirming their concern for the preservation and enhancement of the environment, with a view to deepening environmental awareness and to pursuing the determination expressed at the Conference.”

Since that first recognition, World Environment Day has helped generate political momentum around a multitude of climate issues, such as the depletion of the ozone layer, toxic chemicals, desertification, deforestation and global warming.

Today, World Environment Day provides us with the opportunity to help drive small changes in our daily lives, as well as push for greater changes at the national and international environmental policy level.

 

This year’s World Environment Day is tackling air pollution – and here’s why

 

In the UK alone, Oxford Street can be a daunting experience, not least because of the thousands of shoppers that pack the capital’s ultimate shopping destination, but there’s a more frightening danger that lurks, namely the illegal levels of pollution that sit heavily in the air year-round. In fact, in 2018, air pollution on Oxford Street breached EU nitrogen dioxide limits 80% of the time.

And it’s not just Oxford Street. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), air pollution was responsible for seven million premature deaths worldwide, with over 600,000 of these children under five years old. These frightful statistics are the reason that this year’s World Environment Day is themed around raising awareness in an attempt to tackle the global threat of air pollution.

While the issue of pollution has hit the mainstream when it comes to skincare, and beauty brands quick to offer topical protection and anti-oxidant rich solutions to combat resulting in free-radical damage, the problem goes far, far deeper than skin.

The toxic chemicals in the air, including particle matter (PM), ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2), are produced by transport, agriculture, power generation, burning fuel for cooking as well as other industrial sources and cause an array of life-threatening medical conditions. The chemicals penetrate the lungs and cardiovascular system, causing diseases including stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and respiratory infections like pneumonia.

 

 

While the UK has made legislative changes that have seen improvements across the country, the problem is still huge worldwide. Unsurprisingly, low and middle-income countries account for over 90% of air pollution-related deaths. This is not only due to outdoor air pollution resulting from industry and transport, but also due to the fact that many people are still using solid fuels, like wood, charcoal, and coal as well as kerosene in open fires and inefficient stoves to cook their food. These methods of cooking produce huge amounts of indoor, domestic pollution, causing 3.8 million premature deaths every single year.

In partnership with BreatheLife – a growing network that includes 63 cities, regions, and countries; reaching over 271.4 million citizens – this World Environment Day invites everyone to join a global campaign for cleaner air by joining the mask challenge. The challenge involves posting photos wearing jazzed-up or self-made pollution masks, tagging three people you would like to challenge to do the same, along with the hashtags #WorldEnvironmentDay and #BeatAirPollution.

 

Here’s everything you need to know about World Environment Day 2019, and the ways in which you can get involved:

When is World Environment Day?

World Environment takes place on the 5th of June every year.

What is this year’s theme?

This year, the United Nations have chosen the theme ‘Beat Air Pollution’; a call to action to combat this pressing environmental catastrophe.

Chosen by this year’s host, China, this year’s theme invites us all to consider how we can adapt our daily lives to reduce the amount of air pollution we produce, and impede its contribution to global warming and its effects on our own health.

Which country is hosting World Environment Day?

It’s China’s turn to host this year’s World Environment Day.

How can you get involved?

With nine out of ten people breathing in polluted air, the United Nations are inviting people to join the #MaskChallenge, to show our leaders we want to breathe clean air. It’s pretty simple: all you have to do is take a selfie with a mask (this could be a scarf or even your jumper pulled up over your mouth) and share it to social media, listing the action you’ll take to reduce air pollution.

 

 

Use the hashtags #WorldEnvironmentDay and #BeatAirPollution, and tag 3 people or organisations in your post to pass the message forward, including @UNEnvironment.

If you’re still undecided about what action you’re going to take to #BeatAirPollution, the UN has suggested some helpful ideas:

-Use public transport or car sharing, cycle or walk.
-Switch to a hybrid or electric vehicle and request electric taxis.
-Turn off the car engine when stationary.
-Reduce your consumption of meat and dairy to help cut methane emissions.
-Compost organic food items and recycle non-organic trash.
-Switch to high-efficiency home heating systems and equipment.
-Save energy: turn off lights and electronics when not in use.
-Never burn trash, as this contributes directly to air pollution.
-Choose non-toxic paints and furnishings.

 

The campaign also encourages people to pledge to action a change that will help beat air pollution in your area, whether that be walking instead of driving or switching to a smart electricity meter.

Don’t wait. Act now.