#BeatAirPollution is this year's World Environment Day theme

The worldwide event is taking place today at Commonwealth Park, adopting the hashtag "Beat Air Pollution" to spread the message on improving air quality.

A statement from the Government said:

Celebrated every year on the 5th June, World Environment Day is the United Nations’ biggest annual event for positive environmental action to encourage worldwide awareness of the need to protect our planet. Since the first World Environment Day in 1974, the event has grown to become a global platform for positive public outreach on the environment in over 100 countries.

HM Government of Gibraltar’s Department of the Environment, Heritage and Climate Change (DEHCC) is once again participating in this year’s World Environment Day celebrations. The theme chosen by the United Nations Environment Programme is #BeatAirPollution - a call to take action on renewable energy and green technologies in order to improve the air quality in towns, cities and regions across the world. Air pollution impacts all of us and we all have a role to play to keep our air clean. The sources of air pollution are many but if we act now, we can work towards eliminating dangerous pollutants driving climate change and weakening our planet’s life systems every day.

As part of the global drive to spread the message on reducing air pollution, a variety of local schools performed at Commonwealth Park from 09:30am on Wednesday 5th June. They were accompanied by over fifteen activity-orientated stalls setup by the DEHCC, Government Agencies, Non-governmental organisations and local businesses hoping to make a real difference in improving air quality. Art competitions, open air chess, face painting and even dance shows also formed part of this year’s initiative which has catered for all ages.

The event ran through until 17:00. Members of the public attended in numbers, watching the children perform and visiting the stalls to see what changes we can make in our daily lives to reduce air pollution,which in turn can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve our health. The event was opened was opened by Minister for the Environment, Public Health, Energy and Climate, Prof. John Cortes, who addressed the children, encouraging them to live in an environmentally-friendly manner and to make sure that their families did the same. The Minister stressed that the Environment is an area in which the whole community has to work together to drive it forward, for our good and the sake of the Earth.

Commenting after the event, John Cortes started,“It’s been an amazing day, with more people than ever taking part. The Department of the Environment team has worked so hard to make the even the success it has been. Schools, led by their teachers, joined in with thought-provoking songs, and NGOs, as usual being present – with new ones participating for the first time, as well as Agencies, Authorities and public and private businesses. This year’s theme is Air Quality, an area in which we have made great progress, and on which there is much still to do. I am very pleased therefore to today announce that I will be forming an Air Quality Commission with the target of continuously improving air quality in Gibraltar.

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