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Latin American cities join global coalition for clean air

Rio de Janeiro and Bogotá have announced their plans to join the C40 Clean Air Cities Declaration in an effort to meet the World Health Organization’s air quality guidelines for cleaner air.

Via the global pledge, Bogotá and Rio de Janeiro plan to commit to the WHO’s guidelines for particulate matter, ozone, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. They also plan to implement substantive clean air policies by 2025 and to report on their progress publicly.

The mayors of Bogotá and Rio de Janeiro, Claudia Lopez and Marcelo Crivella respectively, joined a coalition of 35 other cities’ mayors with the aim of ensuring clean air to around 150 million people.

“The pandemic taught us that we have to change the way we work, consume and transport ourselves. We must change our life habits by learning to burn less gasoline and diesel and mobilizing in a different way’ this challenge taught us that we have to walk more and use bicycles more in cities,” said mayor Lopez.

“We cannot go back to the past; this is an opportunity to transform our societies by being more responsible and sustainable,” she added.

Examples of some of the policies that will most likely be implemented are: expanding low or zero-carbon public transport options, promoting the use of cleaner feuls for cooking and heating, introducing zero-emissions zones and enhancing city infrastructure to better enable and support  walking and cycling, among others.

Shannon Lawrence, director of global initiatives at C40 Cities, said, “Given the many local dimensions of air quality issues, mayors are uniquely positioned to tackle air pollution and protect public health.”

“We are thrilled to see mayors from around the world taking ambitious action to make our air cleaner and our cities healthier, and we welcome the leadership of Bogotá and Rio de Janeiro in these efforts. City leadership will be instrumental as we combat the dual crises of Covid-19 and the climate emergency,” she continued.