UN launches ‘world’s largest platform’ for air quality data

Air pollution not only affects people’s health but also the ecosystems and food production and is linked to climate change

The Big Zero report

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has launched what is claimed to be the world’s largest air quality data platform that is expected to enable businesses to make investment decisions that promote a cleaner, greener environment.

UNEP also expects the data – shared on a single, UN-co-ordinated platform – to empower governments to take action to improve policy and enable people to make more informed health choices and demand action from their governments.

It has joined forces with UN-Habitat – which helps cities to develop plans that can reduce air pollution – and Swiss air quality technology company IQAir to bring together real-time air pollution data from more than 4,000 contributors, including the public, communities, governments and the private sector.

The partnership, currently reaching more than 15 million users and covering more than 7,000 cities worldwide, aims to sustain and grow “the world’s foremost air quality databank”.

Around seven million people die each year globally due to air pollution, out of which 650,000 are children.

Air pollution not only affects people’s health but also the ecosystems and food production and is linked to climate change.

By improving access to real-time air quality data, the collaboration is expected to accelerate efforts to change how transport, waste management and other services are managed in cities so air pollution from these activities is significantly reduced, if not eliminated.

Joyce Msuya, Deputy Executive Director of UNEP said: “Air pollution is a public health emergency and an environmental emergency that affects everyone, everywhere. We are excited to be launching this partnership with UN-Habitat and IQAir to bring information and importantly, encourage action by citizens, government and the private sector.”

Latest Podcast