A UN expert has informed the Human Rights Council that over six billion people, one-third of them children, are regularly inhaling air so polluted that it puts their life, health and well-being at risk.
David Boyd, an expert on environment and human rights has said, that air pollution is a silent killer responsible for the premature death of seven million people each year, including 600,000 children. Every hour, 800 people are dying, many after years of suffering, from cancer, respiratory illnesses or heart disease directly caused by breathing polluted air, he added.
The UN expert told the in Geneva yesterday that despite its gravity this pandemic receives inadequate attention as these deaths are not as dramatic as those caused by other disasters or epidemics.
Boyd said that failing to ensure clean air constituted a violation of their fundamental right to a healthy environment, a right that is legally recognised by 155 countries and should be globally recognised.
He identified seven key steps that countries must take to ensure clean air and fulfil the right to a healthy environment. These include monitoring air quality and impacts on human health, assessing sources of air pollution; and making information publicly available, including public health advisories.