Bogotá and Rio de Janeiro join global pledge to ensure clean air for millions

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Bogotá and Rio de Janeiro join 35 other cities committed to the C40 Clean Air Cities Declaration, which presents a shared vision of clean air for all, saving thousands of lives and benefitting a total population of 150 million.

London, UK (September 7, 2020) Today, on the occasion of the International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies, Mayor of Bogotá Claudia López and Mayor of Rio de Janeiro Marcelo Crivella confirm their commitment to the C40 Clean Air Cities Declaration. With this pledge, Mayor López and Mayor Crivella come together with mayors from around the world, representing over 150 million people, in recognising that breathing clean air is a human right and committing to joining a global coalition of cities working to create clean air for all.

Through the pledge, Bogotá and Rio de Janeiro commit to using their power to set pollution targets that meet or exceed national targets; implement substantive clean air policies by 2025; and publicly report on their progress toward these goals.

Nine in 10 citizens around the world breathe air that the World Health Organization deems unsafe, and air pollution causes 7 million premature deaths globally each year. Air pollution is not only a global public health crisis, but also a crisis rooted in social justice: often, poor air quality affects the most vulnerable communities the most.

The cities currently signed on to the C40 Clean Air Cities Declaration are: Amman, Austin, Bengaluru, Barcelona, Berlin, Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Delhi, Dubai, Durban (eThekwini), Guadalajara, Heidelberg, Houston, Jakarta, Los Angeles, Lima, Lisbon, London, Madrid, Medellin, Mexico City, Milan, Oslo, Paris, Portland, Quezon City, Quito, Rio de Janeiro, Rotterdam, Seoul, Stockholm, Sydney, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Tokyo, Warsaw, and Washington D.C.

Together, these 37 signatories could avoid over 40,000 deaths each year by reducing annual average PM2.5 levels to WHO guidelines (10 μg/m3).

Signatory cities may implement many policies and measures to improve air quality, including expanding low- or zero-carbon public transport; creating zero-emissions zones; requiring and promoting cleaner fuels for heating and cooking; enhancing incentives and infrastructure to support walking and cycling, and establishing city-wide air quality monitoring. Cities may also tackle air pollution beyond their direct control through engagement with nation states and businesses. The Declaration empowers mayors to tackle air pollution and calls on others responsible for the sources of air pollution to match this commitment.

“The pandemic taught us that we have to change the way we work, consume and transport ourselves,” said Mayor of Bogotá Claudia López. “We must change our life habits by learning to burn less gasoline and diesel and mobilizing in a different way; this challenge taught us that we have to walk more and use bicycles more in cities. We cannot go back to the past; this is an opportunity to transform our societies by being more responsible and sustainable.”

“Unhealthy air doesn’t stop at national borders or city limits, nor does COVID-19 –– and each demands our immediate attention and bold, clear action,” said Mayor of Los Angeles and C40 Chair, Eric Garcetti. “The International Day of Clean Air is a clarion call to meet these intersecting global challenges, save lives by reducing emissions, and deliver on our promise of environmental justice to families on the front lines of both crises.”

Shannon Lawrence, Director of Global Initiatives, C40 Cities, said: “Given the many local dimensions of air quality issues, mayors are uniquely positioned to tackle air pollution and protect public health. We are thrilled to see mayors from around the world taking ambitious action to make our air cleaner and our cities healthier, and we welcome the leadership of Bogotá and Rio de Janeiro in these efforts. City leadership will be instrumental as we combat the dual crises of COVID-19 and the climate emergency.”

Rio de Janeiro has also committed to the C40 Green and Healthy Streets Declaration, through which the city has pledged to procure only zero-emissions buses from 2025 and make a major area of the city transport emissions-free by 2030.

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