We are in a public health emergency. An estimated 4.5 million people around the world die each year from causes directly attributable to air pollution from burning fossil fuels a recent study shows. Meanwhile, the leading contributors to air pollution – coal, oil, and car companies – are profiting while we pay the price with our health and that of the planet.
In addition to contributing to air pollution, the burning of fossil fuels is the leading cause of global climate change. Yet the companies who fuel the air pollution crisis, and the governments who enable it, are not doing enough to transition to clean energy.
The good news is that, around the world, millions of people like you are standing up and demanding solutions. Despite the shocking negligence by big corporations, people are coming together to fight for a future where we can all breathe air that does not harm us, our children, or the planet. As Greta Thunberg said, “Change is coming whether you like it or not”. Here are three inspiring examples of where community power has led the way:
Jakarta has one of the worst air pollution problems in the world and in July 2019, following an event of bad air quality, 31 Jakarta citizens sued the government for its lack of action on air pollution. The citizen group, Coalition for the Clean Air Initiative, demanded a clean air act from the government, including the president and ministries, through their Citizen Lawsuit.
In response to the lawsuit, 26,000 people signed a petition asking the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to adopt WHO’s pollution safety standards nationally. The Association of Breastfeeding Mothers in Indonesia also spoke out, concerned about the dangerous impacts of air pollution on their children’s health and doctors from across Indonesia joined the action by sharing their overwhelming support for the urgent need to reduce air pollution. The Governor of Jakarta responded to the people and has promised to fulfil a large proportion of the demands set out in the lawsuit.