Mayors and governors of ten major African cities have announced an unprecedented commitment to improve air quality with the signing of the C40 Clean Air Cities Declaration.
Nairobi, Abidjan, Accra, Addis Ababa, Dakar, Ekurhuleni, Freetown, Johannesburg, Lagos, Nairobi and Tshwane have joined a global cohort of 38 cities to sign the declaration.
The signing of the C40 Clean Air Cities Declaration means that Nairobi recognises that breathing clean air is a human right and commit to work toward safer air quality to meet WHO Air Quality Guidelines.
At the event held in Kisumu, C40 launched the African Cities for Clean Air Programme to support African cities as they work to improve air quality and public health.
This is important because air pollution has become the second largest cause of death on the African continent, due in part to rapid urbanisation and industrialisation.
“Nairobi City Administration’s commitment toward city-wide clean air will form a vital component in achieving our vision as the most lovable, clean, and sustainable city.
“We are strengthening the air quality management system by developing an air quality action plan, policy and bill,” Nairobi Governor Anne Kananu said.
Approximately 59 million people across the ten African cities stand to benefit from cleaner air and improved health through commitments that could prevent as many as 10,000 early deaths linked to air pollution exposure, as well as more than 300,000 hospitalisations, resulting in US$ 9.4 billion in annual savings from averted deaths and hospitalisations.
The C40 Clean Air Cities Declaration sets a framework for cities around the world to improve air quality
Within two years, signatories to the declaration will establish baseline levels and set ambitious reduction targets for air pollutants that meet or exceed national commitments.
These targets will put the cities on a path towards meeting World Health Organisation Air Quality Guidelines for particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, and sulphur dioxide.
By signing this declaration, C40 cities continue to take bold climate action despite the many challenges faced in recent times, with the global pandemic, economic disruption, climate-related natural disasters and in many cases strained financial resources.