By confirming their undertaking, the mayors of Bogotá and Rio de Janeiro come together with a coalition of 35 other city mayors that aim to ensure clean air for some 150 million people.
Bogotá and Rio de Janeiro have announced their commitment to the C40 Clean Air Cities Declaration that will put them on a path towards meeting World Health Organisation (WHO) air quality guidelines for particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, and sulphur dioxide.
Through the global pledge, Bogotá and Rio de Janeiro commit to: setting pollution targets that meet or exceed national targets; implement substantive clean air policies by 2025; and publicly report on their progress toward these goals.
By confirming their undertaking, the mayor of Bogotá Claudia López and mayor of Rio de Janeiro Marcelo Crivella come together with a coalition of 35 other mayors that aim to ensure clean air for some 150 million people.
Nine in 10 citizens around the world breathe air that the WHO 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 pandemic taught us that we have to change the way we work, consume and transport ourselves,” said mayor López.
She continued: “We must change our life habits by learning to burn less gasoline and diesel and mobilising 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.”
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.
“We cannot go back to the past; this is an opportunity to transform our societies by being more responsible and sustainable”
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.
“Given the many local dimensions of air quality issues, mayors are uniquely positioned to tackle air pollution and protect public health,” added Shannon Lawrence, director of global initiatives, C40 Cities.
She added: “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.”
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 DC.
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.
You might also like: