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“Rising air pollution and carbon emissions are leading risk factors for premature death worldwide, posing a dire threat to both our health and our planet. They don’t have to be.”

Statement from Daniel Kass, Senior Vice President of Environmental Health at Vital Strategies on International Day of Clean Air for blue Skies, Sept. 7, 2021: 

“Right now, 90% of people in the world breathe unhealthy air. Air pollutants increase the incidence of stunting in children, impaired brain development, lung disease, heart disease and cancer, and are responsible for more than five million deaths each year. While air pollution affects all of us, women, children and those living in resource-constrained countries, are most at risk of breathing polluted air and suffering from related health consequences. Exposure to air pollution is also linked to underlying conditions that make people more likely to become severely ill or die from COVID-19.  

Clean air is a human right and a public health priority. Air pollution has wide-reaching negative consequences.  For example, climate pollutants like methane contribute to global climate change, leading world economies suffer productivity losses from health and other social impacts. Improving air quality alongside reducing carbon emissions are the most important environmental priorities of our time. We’re failing, but don’t have to be.  

On International Day of Clean Air for blue skies, Vital Strategies urges governments and policymakers to prioritize clean air actions including: identifying and monitoring leading sources of air pollution, from household fuels to power plants; investing in clean fuels and best available emission reduction technologies; increasing understanding of air pollution and its related consequences and solutions; and implementing evidence-based and equitable clean air policies and legislation to reduce emissions. Governments must move from voluntary commitments to action and enforcement. We look forward to working with governments, policymakers and civil society to build support for clean air policies that protect people around the world.” 

About Vital Strategies 

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. We work with governments and civil society in 73 countries to design and implement evidence-based strategies that tackle their most pressing public health problems. Our goal is to see governments adopt promising interventions at scale as rapidly as possible. To find out more, please visit or Twitter @VitalStrat.