Statement from Ranjit Baxi, Founding President of the Global Recycling Foundation
11 February 2020
“A video report recently published by the BBC shines a light on a problem that is becoming increasingly worrying in the Western Balkan country of Serbia: air pollution. According to the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution, Serbia is the country with the highest rate of pollution-related deaths in Europe, and winter smog is an issue that is endangering more and more lives each year.
“However, while Serbia’s levels of pollution are particularly high, this is a problem that is affecting countries all over the world. The British Heart Foundation released findings which show that almost a quarter of people in the UK live in areas where average levels of toxic emissions exceed guidelines set by the World Health Foundation, while the WHO estimates that air pollution kills around seven million people worldwide every year.
“Furthermore, unfortunately air pollution often does the most harm to those who are acting to fight it. Cycling and walking are both great ways to cut down on emissions, but it is these same pedestrians and cyclists who are exposed to increased levels of pollution on their journeys, finding themselves in close proximity to cars and exhaust fumes on a daily basis.
“It is vital, then, that we fight to cut these emissions down. Pollution does not require a visa or passport to travel and therefore it has to be a collective effort to control air pollution. We cannot confine pollution to one region, and therefore we cannot solve this problem without cooperating on an international level. Governments absolutely must work together in order to secure a greener future, focusing on all climate issues, from air pollution to plastic waste. It is for this reason that conferences such as COP26 and the World Economic Forum are essential. We cannot solve the climate emergency without collaboration, and there is no time to waste.”