Joining in the fight to make world air right is a new multi-agency partnership.
Official word of the endeavor and launch came on Friday, Aug. 8th via a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) news release. Here is some of what the federal agency offered in its “Asia-Pacific Clean Air Partnership Launched to Fight Global Air Pollution” release.
“The Cities Clean Air Partnership, the first major clean air certification and partnership program to encourage air quality protection in cities across the Asia-Pacific region, was launched today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Taiwan Environmental Protection Administration, Clean Air Asia, and the Bay Area and South Coast Air Districts.
“‘The EPA, California and cities from L.A. [Los Angeles] to Fresno have decades of experience in reducing harmful air pollution,’ said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. ‘But air pollution is still causing more than 3.7 million deaths a year and costing the global economy over $3.5 trillion a year in sickness and premature deaths. This partnership is taking a huge step forward to reduce global air pollution and achieve more livable, healthier cities for all.’
“‘The Cities Clean Air Partnership will greatly accelerate air quality improvement in Asian cities and Taiwan is proud to help initiate this program with the U.S. EPA,’ said Taiwan Environmental Protection Administration Minister Kuo-Yen Wei. ‘We are looking forward to forming ties with other city partners in Asia under this program and International Environmental Partnership framework.’”
This comes on the heels of the World Health Organization’s own announcement that, worldwide, in 2012, an estimated seven million people passed away prematurely from air pollution’s effects.
According to information in the EPA release, it is the partnership’s mission to strengthen Asian cities’ air quality management, encourage progress and lend Asia a helping hand as a further means to reduce impacts to human health caused by both polluted air and climate change. Added to that, is fighting to lower air pollution levels and grow economies that are clean-energy based. “The program includes: a certification and scoring system that encourages a city to take clean air actions by earning certifications as it achieves milestones and progresses towards better air quality; empowering cities through training, financial incentives and other partnership and collaboration support; and fostering cooperation and peer-to-peer learning among cities through a cities partnering program,” noted the EPA.
“With today’s Cities Clean Air Partnership launch, cities in California and around the U.S. will be able to collaborate with cities in the Asia-Pacific to share experiences and innovations to reduce and control air pollution.”
The EPA further pointed out, “Clean Air Asia, a non-governmental organization based in the Philippines working on air quality issues in Asia, is developing the partnership, which will drive progress for participating cities, helping them make targeted decisions about the best way to deploy resources to improve air quality.”
As far as I’m concerned, a program such as this is long overdue.
More importantly, I hope the effort is tremendously successful and more and more cities and nations also become similarly involved in time.
Find out more about Clean Air Asia at: http://www.cleanairasia.org
Find out more about the EPA’s work in the Asia-Pacific region at: http://www2.epa.gov/international-cooperation/epa-efforts-asia-pacific-region
Image above: NASA
– Alan Kandel