Athletes, UN Environment Join Forces to Tackle Air Pollution
Photo by Patrick Hendry
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The five-year partnership includes development of an air quality monitoring network by collecting data from approximately 1,000 IAAF-certified athletics tracks.

The partnership will create a city network of air quality monitors to help runners choose the best times to run.

By engaging professional athletes, local and national governments, community leaders and others who run for exercise, the IAAF aims to raise awareness about air pollution.

28 May 2018: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP, or UN Environment) and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) have announced a partnership to address air quality, which causes approximately seven million deaths annually.

The partnership was announced at the conclusion of the 71st World Health Assembly (WHA), which met in Geneva, Switzerland, from 21-26 May 2018.

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) will support the five-year partnership by helping to develop an air quality monitoring network by collecting data from approximately 1,000 IAAF-certified athletics tracks.

The partnership will work with local and national governments to better understand the impacts of air quality on quality of life.

Nearly 91% of the global population breathes air that does not meet World Health Organization (WHO) air quality guidelines. By engaging professional athletes, local and national governments, community leaders and others who run for exercise, the IAAF aims to raise awareness about air pollution and collecting data that will enable athletes and communities to tackle air pollution.

In addition to the air quality monitoring network, the partnership’s main objectives are to: work with international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and partners to create a real-time air quality database with global coverage; create a city network of air quality monitors to help runners choose the best times to run; work with local and national governments to better understand the impacts of air quality on quality of life; study the relationship between air quality and athletic performance; and join global campaigns for cleaner air.

The IAAF has also joined the BreatheLife campaign, an initiative of UN Environment, CCAC and WHO. Beyond air pollution, the IAAF will also introduce measures to reduce plastics at future IAAF events.

The IAAF is an informal network of more than half a billion runners globally. Approximately 6% of the world’s population runs regularly and the number is expected to increase to over 10% in the next few years. [UN Environment Press Release] [IAAF Website]


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