This month, Singapore has become the first Southeast Asian city and country to join the BreatheLife campaign, having adopted WHO air quality guidelines as targets back in 2012. It joins Mongolia as BreatheLife's second Asian member. Also in this issue, World Environment Day brought attention to all forms of pollution and spurred governments to announce various measures to tackle these problems. The science continues to point to the particular vulnerability of the eldest and youngest in society to the negative health impacts of air pollution. June also saw the end of the first BreatheLife Challenge, during which 55,708 people pledged to leave their cars at home and walk, cycle or take public transport for the equivalent of a marathon. 

Welcome to the BreatheLife Network

We’d like to extend a very warm welcome to the newest cities and regions to join the BreatheLife network!


Singapore, the world’s island city-state and home to 5.6 million people, is the first Southeast Asian city to join the #BreatheLife campaign and second Asian country, after Mongolia. The city's domestic air quality targets are aligned with the World Health Organization’s guidelines, which were adopted by the country in 2012. While its overall air quality is comparable to that of many major cities of developed countries, Singapore continues to work towards meeting its full set of targets, including targets for particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), sulphur dioxide and ozone. The country has progressively reduced pollutant emissions from the industry and transport network by implementing measures to tighten emission and fuel quality standards, and incentives to take up cleaner vehicles. The use of electric vehicles is expected to grow, and the government has recently awarded a tender to boost the number of solar panels on the roofs of public apartment blocks. 
Read about Singapore's journey here


Burning plastic waste adds to global air pollution problem
By 2050, the UN anticipates that there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans unless we change our behaviour and stop using single-use plastic items. About 12 per cent of municipal waste that is burnt consists of plastic, and 40 per cent of the world’s garbage is burnt, often openly, releasing various health-threatening substances into the atmosphere-- and lungs. 
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Cycling growing in popularity in Brazilian megacity São Paulo
It’s no coincidence São Paulo was the city in which Zoom, described as “Uber for helicopters”, made its worldwide debut late last year. The biggest city in South America (population: 21.2 million) is infamous for its traffic. But change is also taking place at ground-level, where 100,000 new bicycles are likely to pepper the megacity in the next few years.
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Doctors and patient groups join Unmask My City initiative to clean up Sofia’s air
A coalition of nine doctor and health organisations has joined the global Unmask My City initiative, calling for greater urgency in achieving clean air in Sofia. The Bulgarian capital is one of the most polluted cities in the whole European Union (EU).
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Athletics joins race to beat global air pollution crisis
UN Environment and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) have announced a new, five-year partnership to cut air pollution. The partnership will be supported by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), which will be working to create an air quality monitoring network that will eventually link almost 1,000 athletics tracks around the world.
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Global action plan on health, environment and climate change launched at World Health Assembly
A global coalition on health, environment and climate change launched an action plan to tackle environmental threats to health, including air pollution and climate change. The heads of the World Health Organization (WHO), UN Environment and World Meteorological Organization (WMO) launched the plan, supported by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), at the 71st World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland. The plan spells out specific roles for the agencies involved in the coalition. 
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Photo by Chris Vaughan Griffiths

Air pollution associated with hospitalization of elderly for acute respiratory distress

A study of data from nearly 30 million elderly Medicare beneficiaries in the United States found that hospital admissions among them for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) increased when either PM2.5 (very fine particles about 30 times smaller than the width of a human hair) of ozone concentrations increased. The researchers studied the data from 2000 to 2012. The elderly population is at particularly high risk of developing ARDS, and the ARDS mortality rate for elderly patients has been reported to be around 69 percent to 80 percent.

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Indoor air pollution puts children at higher risk of respiratory infections

A study in Pakistan of 11,040 children under 5 years of age found that those living in households using polluting fuels for cooking and heating are 1.5 times more likely to have symptoms of acute respiratory infection (ARI) than in those using cleaner fuels. 

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Closing coal and oil power plants associated with reduced preterm birth rates

A study in California of eight coal and oil power plant retirements and nearby pre-term births from 2001 to 2011 found that these retirements were associated with a drop in the proportion of preterm births within 5 kilometres of 7 per cent to 5.1 per cent.

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Taking polluting vehicles off the road could save lives

A Swedish study has found that if all petrol and diesel vehicles were taken off the roads in the city of Malmö, population 320,000, up to 4 per cent of all premature deaths could be prevented. The city's air quality largely remains within European Union standards for particulate matter and nitrogen oxides annually, yet, according to the researchers, "even the most conservative estimate of the number of prevented deaths is 7 times larger than the annual traffic fatalities in Malmö."

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Clean Air Headlines

How Mumbai’s citizens brought down its air pollution
Colorado Will Adopt California's Stricter Air Pollution Rules, Resisting Trump
Breathing inequality: Air pollution widens gap between ‘the two Pittsburghs’
Air pollution, rising levels causing diseases like stroke and lung cancer
Hamburg leads charge with Germany's first diesel ban
Older cars face Glasgow city centre ban
Mayors call for ban on diesel and petrol cars to be brought forward a decade
Sadiq Khan plans to extend London's ultra-low emission zone
Each car in London costs NHS and society £8,000 due to air pollution, report finds
Google's Street View cars will monitor London's air quality
Japan to help China tackle air pollution

Upcoming Events

Special ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change
10 July, 2018
By invitation only

CCAC ministerial roundtable discussion
10 July, 2018
By invitation only
The Minister of Climate Change for New Zealand, James Shaw, and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition will host this ministerial roundtable discussion on the margins of the upcoming “Special ASEAN Meeting on Climate Action” in Singapore. The discussion will inform the Coalition’s preparations to help countries address the questions of the Talanoa Dialogue: “Where are we?”, “Where do we want to go?” and “How do we get there?”
More information

World Cities Summit 
8 - 12 July, 2018
The biennial World Cities Summit is an exclusive platform for government leaders and industry experts to address liveable and sustainable city challenges, share integrated urban solutions and forge new partnerships. Jointly organised by Singapore’s Centre for Liveable Cities and Urban Redevelopment Authority, key highlights of the Summit include the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize, the annual World Cities Summit Mayors Forum, and World Cities Summit Young Leaders Symposium.
More information

Asia-Pacific Climate Week
10 - 13 July, 2018
Asia-Pacific Climate Week 2018 is an umbrella for a series of climate-related events focused on the implementation of Nationally-Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Climate Change Agreement, challenges and opportunities, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and Global Climate Action.
More information

Moscow Urban Forum
17 - 22 July, 2018
Moscow, Russia
Moscow Urban Forum 2018 "Megacity of the Future: New Space for Living" will focus on a discussion of the results of large-scale urban transformations over the last decades, the solutions and selection of tools for building the future of the largest global cities, and the adaptation of spatial solutions and infrastructure to meet changing economic, environmental, technological, social and cultural demands.
More information

Save the Date

WHO’s First Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health
30 October - 1 November 2018
Geneva, Switzerland

Improving air quality, combatting climate change – saving lives

The first Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health will consider the sub-theme, 'Improving air quality, combatting climate change – saving lives'. This event is organized by the World Health Organization, in collaboration with UN Environment, the World Meteorological Organization and UN Climate Change. 

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