Take public transport and #BeatAirPollution

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Air pollution leads to premature death from heart disease, stroke, and cancer, as well as acute lower respiratory infections. Indoor and outdoor air pollution caused an estimated seven million deaths globally in 2016, according to UN Environment’s recently published Measuring Progress report.

Transport emissions account for a significant proportion of air pollution in cities—varying enormously depending on the location. It can be the biggest source of air pollution and its effects are devastating nonetheless. This is why UITP and UN Environment have teamed up for World Environment Day on 5 June 2019 to raise awareness of the need for local and national governments as well as citizens to take significant steps to improve urban air quality by using and developing public transport systems.

Air pollution is the theme of this year’s World Environment Day and is the basis for the join the Mask Challenge, where "using public transport or car sharing, cycling or walking" is listed as the first example of an action you can take to #BeatAirPollution and join the challenge.

Launched today by UITP and a select group of members, our video with UN Environment aims to show to politicians and leaders that we want to breathe clean air.

“We need three things to happen,” says UN Environment’s electric mobility expert Rob de Jong. “We need to avoid the need for transport, like through better city design where kids can walk to school and shops are close to residential areas; we need to shift to more efficient modes of transport, like public transport and walking and cycling; and we need to improve transport, like through cleaner vehicles.”

At the UITP Summit in Stockholm in only a few days time a number of sessions will look at how public transport can help improve air quality and enhance our urban environments for the better:

• Building healthy cities with transport policies
• Public transport’s role in shaping our cities
• Urban transport policies for more liveable and competitive cities
• Contracting for innovative transport services
• Tackling the challenges to operating fleets of e-buses


Follow World Environment Day live updates here!

Read more about our knowledge publications that have provided policy recommendations for improving air quality in cities with better public transport planning.

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