“In a week dedicated to the environment, a study has revealed that the majority of Brazilian states do not monitor air quality.

Breathing the smoke released from vehicles, factories, and fires, is a fatal routine for many Brazilians. Air pollution kills 50,000 people a year in Brazil, besides those who have their health affected by the smoke.

It would be different if the National Program of Control of Air Quality , which was created over 30 years ago, was operating. According to the rules of Pronar, all the states should have monitoring and warning systems for the population.

The Jornal Nacional obtained exclusively the results of a survey by the Institute for Health and Sustainability and the Federal Prosecution Office that demonstrates the abandonment of this program. Throughout Brazil, according to the study, there are only 319 active monitoring stations, almost all of which are in the southeast region. And, in most cases, these stations do not measure the presence of the substances that are the most harmful to health.

Few cities in Brazil have equipment to measure air quality. In fact, only six states and the Federal District have air quality monitoring programs. However, only two states, São Paulo and Espírito Santo, provide real-time information about the quantity of pollutants in the air that we breathe.”

Watch the complete report from the Jornal Nacional:

Check out some of the actions taken on #WorldEnvironmentDay throughout Brazil:

World Environment Day was celebrated on June 5, and this year the theme was “Air Pollution,” which is a critical issue both for the environment and for human health. With the objective of uniting efforts to combat this evil, which affects everyone, but is particularly harmful to children and pregnant women, UN Environment in Brazil promoted a series of activities throughout the country during the Week of the Environment, between June 1-9. During this period, the Program performed launches, digital engagement actions, conversed with several sectors of society, and supported events to #CombaterAPoluiçãoDoAr.

Nine out of every ten people in the world breathe polluted air. The harmful emissions are responsible for one in nine deaths globally and for seven million premature deaths per year. Only on the American continent, over 300,000 people die each year due to poor air quality. Some air pollutants are also directly related to global warming, contributing to the development of a climate crisis.

For the Representative of United Nations Environment in Brazil, Denise Hamú, the World Environment Day is a unique opportunity to warn people, governments and organizations about this silent threat. “Often, we cannot see the pollutants that are in the air. But this form of pollution is killing so many that it has already been called ‘the new tobacco.’ The choice of this subject to guide the actions this year is an opportunity to disseminate information and to encourage more and better public policies for air quality, at all levels – global, national, state and municipal. It is also a call for more investment in green technologies and for lifestyle changes in the daily routine of each citizen.”

Focus on urban mobility

About 76% of the Brazilian population lives in cities and the increasing trend of urbanization in the coming decades places the discussion about cities and urban mobility at the heart of sustainable development. In partnership with the National Association of Urban Transport Companies (NTU), UN Environment is promoting, throughout the month of June, the action “Leave the car at home = Leave pollution at home.” The idea is to encourage, via posters and advertisements on buses all over Brazil, the reflection on what each citizen can do to reduce air pollution by encouraging, at the same time, the use of public transport for journeys in the cities.

** The second part of this text is part of an adaptation from a newsletter published by UN Environment.

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