Exposing air pollution, informing policy and action
Earlier this month, the Alliance’s CEO, Radha Muthiah, joined Tommy Wells, the Director of the D.C. Department of Energy and Environment and Terry Yosie, President and CEO of World Environment Center, on a panel addressing the impacts of pollution on human health and the environment. The panel was part of Towards the UN Environment Assembly: Combating Global Pollution, an event organized by UN Environment North America. Panelists and speakers, including UN Environment Deputy Executive Director Ibrahim Thiaw, presented on the health, economic, and environmental impacts of air pollution, as well as the collaborative approaches needed to take on this massive challenge. The discussion will help inform the upcoming UN Environment Assembly, which will focus on addressing local and global level pollution.
Cooking and air pollution
In her remarks, Radha highlighted five major points:
- Household (indoor) air pollution is a major source of ambient (outdoor) air pollution. In fact, globally, household air pollution is the source of 12% of ambient air pollution. In India and China, as much as 30% of ambient air pollution is caused by household emissions.
- The private sector must play a role in addressing air pollution, especially indoor air pollution. The Alliance has taken a market-based approach that draws from government, private sector, and civil society expertise and resources.
- Household air pollution is not just a rural problem and overall air pollution is not just an urban problem.
- Air pollution is not constrained by borders. Air pollution from inefficient cooking in Asia, Africa, and Latin America has impacts across our globe, including in the Arctic.
- To address this multifaceted issue, we need to ensure that consumers have access to affordable and safer cooking solutions that meet their needs. And we must transform how the world cooks to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and deliver on the Paris Agreement on climate.
The Alliance continues to address the challenges of household air pollution and inefficient cooking by strengthening the supply of clean and efficient cookstoves and fuels and supporting innovation within the sector. In addition to these efforts, the Alliance supports measurement of air pollution at local and global levels, while providing technical capacity to policymakers and implementers looking to reduce air pollution.
Though it is encouraging to see the issue of air pollution receiving increased attention, it is still too often overlooked, particularly at the household level. Therefore, the Alliance is working to elevate the discussion on air pollution and help solve this problem in a way that brings about the greatest benefits for our climate, economy, and to rural and urban households globally.