The campaign aims to mobilize cities and individuals to mitigate the adverse effects of air pollution, emphasizing both climate and health impacts. This is done through connecting cities so they can share best practices, expanding monitoring efforts, pushing for new solutions and increasing awareness of the burden air pollution poses.
Air pollution has severe health impacts. WHO, UN Environment and CCAC report that air pollution is responsible for about one third of deaths from stroke, chronic respiratory disease and lung cancer. It is also responsible for one quarter of deaths from heart attack, and can lead to asthma and chronic respiratory illnesses. WHO reports that eighty per cent of all cities exceed WHO limits for safe air. Low- and middle-income countries are especially affected. Many sources of air pollution are also are heavy emitters of CO2, linking the health and climate impact of emissions.
Air pollution is a major challenge that needs to be dealt with accordingly. WHO reports that between 2008 and 2013, global urban pollution levels increased by eight per cent among cities that monitored air pollution. However, the same data shows that many cities supporting solutions that reduce air pollutants have increased their air quality dramatically. This goes to show that it is possible to reverse the negative trend. Norway is proud to say that it is taking part in this endeavour, both abroad and at home.