6.7 million premature deaths per year are due to poor air quality exposure1
91% of premature deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries2
49 cities commit to set ambitious reduction targets and take action on air pollution

About this sector

Air pollution is one of the most significant environmental risks to health. It causes 6.7 million premature deaths annually and increases chronic disease burden, disproportionately impacting marginalised and vulnerable communities1

Air pollution is also intrinsically linked to climate breakdown. Many drivers of poor air quality are sources of greenhouse gas emissions, such as pollutants caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

Mayors understand that public health, the climate crisis and urban air quality are interlinked issues. That is why their efforts to clean the air we breathe, reduce greenhouse emissions and improve the wellbeing of city residents go hand-in-hand.

High-impact air quality measures and solutions

Through C40’s Air Quality Programme, we provide cities with technical assistance, collaboration opportunities, and the tools required to implement and scale up solutions that improve air quality and reduce emissions.

Some examples of high-impact air quality measures include:

  • Expanding adequate city-wide air quality monitoring.
  • Implementing policies and programmes to reduce local air pollution emission sources from the residential, transport, or industrial sectors, such as:
    • low and zero emissions zones;
    • vehicle and bus fleet electrification programmes;
    • promoting walking and cycling;
    • achieving universal waste collection to reduce the open burning of waste;
    • phasing out of fossil fuel technologies for heating and cooking;
    • and expanding green spaces.
  • Developing and implementing climate action plans that support cities to meet World Health Organization Air Quality Guidelines.

1. World Health Organization. (‎2021)‎. WHO global air quality guidelines: particulate matter (‎PM2.5 and PM10)‎, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide. World Health Organization. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO2.
2. World Health Organization. (2021). Factsheet: Ambient (outdoor) air pollution.

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