The new WHO data shed light on the severity of the air pollution problem globally is it not time to have an 18th sustainable development goal, clean air for all.
The WHO data shows that outdoor pollution causes more than 3 million premature deaths a year globally, more than malaria and HIV/Aids and is now the biggest single killer in the world. This toll is expected to double as urbanisation increases and car numbers approach 2 billion by 2050. Outdoor pollution has risen 8 per cent in five years with fast growing cities in the developing world worst affected.
Furthermore as the millenium development goals (MDG) era came to an conclusion, world leaders last September ushered an era for the new agenda. Calling on countries to begin their efforts to achieve 17 sustainable development goals (SDG’s) over the next 15 years from ending poverty to protecting eco-systems. But surprisingly no mention was made for clean air for all as an SDG.
The Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon stated at the time “ The seventeen SDG’s are our shared vision of humanity and a social contract between world leaders and the people. They are a to do-list for people and planet, and blueprint for success” Surely clean air should be added on the do-list.
In light of such compelling evidence, clean air for all should be adopted by the UN as the 18th sustainable development goal for nations to attain over the next 15 years.