The Government of Mexico, through the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat), joined for the second time the celebration of the International Clean Air Day for a blue sky, in coordination with the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change (INECC), the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), where it called for reflection and action to improve air quality through joint work.

During the event held this Tuesday, the head of Semarnat, María Luisa Albores González, highlighted the importance of this commemoration, in which governments, industry, academia, international organizations, and society, in general, come together to send a joint message: healthy air is essential for a healthy planet. He mentioned that Semarnat works for the care of life in an integral way, where people, families, and communities are put at the center so that we can breathe clean air.

Healthy air is essential for a healthy planet

The protection and conservation of the environment are necessary conditions to ensure the eradication of poverty, the reduction of inequality, and the achievement of well-being for Mexico's communities, he said. Tonatiuh Herrera Gutiérrez, Semarnat's Undersecretary for Environmental Promotion and Regulations, welcomed the participants and emphasized the links between air quality and the health of the population as a major environmental risk and one of the main preventable causes of death and disease in the world.

PAHO/WHO, through its representative in Mexico, Cristian Morales, explained that poor air quality is associated with acute and chronic respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, lung cancer, stroke, and neurodegenerative diseases, among others. PAHO has pointed out that high concentrations of air pollutants contribute to a higher mortality rate due to COVID-19, hence everything we do to reduce these pollutants will result in a concrete contribution to mitigate their lethal effects.

The representative in Mexico of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Dolores Barrientos, called for cooperation for action by the different sectors of society and government. She highlighted the coordination between UNEP, PAHO, Semarnat, and INECC to promote the global campaign Breathe Life, which has achieved 34 adhesions, among states, municipalities, universities, companies, and NGOs.

Poor air quality is associated with acute and chronic respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, as well as cancer.

During the event, 4 adhesions to the campaign were presented by the states of Hidalgo, Puebla, Tlaxcala, as well as the municipality of Durango. The representative of the National Association of Bus, Truck and Tractor-Trailer Manufacturers (ANPACT), Miguel Elizalde Lizárraga, highlighted the importance of the transition to clean transportation in Mexico and considered it important to update and monitor the regulatory framework in Mexico in order to work in favor of new vehicle technologies.

The director for Latin America of the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), Kate Blumberg, focused her presentation on the renewal of the vehicle fleet towards cleaner and more efficient technologies, both in light and heavy vehicles. She said that this technological transition can have a positive impact on job creation and investment attraction.

93% of the world's population is exposed to polluted air

In his speech, the executive coordinator of the Megalopolis Environmental Commission (CAMe), Víctor Hugo Páramo, referred to emissions of ozone precursor pollutants and particulate matter from the transportation sector. The official cited some of the policies used for air quality management focused on this sector, such as vehicle verification, self-regulation, and Atmospheric Environmental Contingency programs of various entities.

Finally, the general director of the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change (INECC), Amparo Martinez, commented that 93% of the world's population is exposed to polluted air, so it is necessary to implement comprehensive solutions and one way to do this in the short term and with multiple benefits is through the reduction of short-lived climate pollutants.