Posted: Thursday, June 17th, 2021
Tackling air pollution is one of the most complex challenges we face that has no easy solution, says new Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters, on Wales’ Clean Air Day.
The Welsh Government is advancing plans to introduce a Clean Air Act for Wales, which will provide a framework for setting goals based on international best practices and the World Health Organization’s air quality guidelines.
The Act will also improve the Welsh Government’s ability to assess and monitor air quality to reduce the impact of bad air on the health of current and future generations.
Poor air quality is the largest environmental health risk worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, and the effects contribute to reduced life expectancy.
In Wales alone, poor air quality accounts for more than 1,000 deaths each year.
Speaking at a Clean Air event in Newport, the Deputy Secretary said:
In the course of the pandemic, we have changed the way we live because we have followed science.
In 2020, children carried the burden of COVID-19, which affected their freedom, education, and spiritual wellbeing.
When our children return to their lives, we need to make sure they return to a healthy environment where they can study and play safely.
Quieter streets, cleaner air, less noise and a closer connection with nature are the result of the changes brought about by the pandemic.
We must seize this opportunity now to shape the way we respond to air pollution issues, to protect the health of our children and ensure a cleaner future.
Business as usual is not an option, we have to do things differently and be ready to be brave.
We already offer educational programs on air quality in cooperation with EESW STEM Cymru to empower young people to make a difference.
We will also work with communities, businesses and the public sector to encourage people to play their part in improving air quality for a healthier and more resilient Wales.
Having access to a healthy environment and breathing clean air is a right, not a privilege!
The Welsh Government says the environment and climate change will be “at the center of their decision-making process”.
[Image British Lung Foundation]