KIGALI, June 5 (Xinhua) -- Rwanda on Wednesday joined the rest of the world to mark the World Environment Day with a call on the public to adopt clean alternative sources of energy to avoid air pollution.
The day was celebrated through a ceremony held in the Rwandan capital city Kigali under the theme "Beat Air Pollution."
"Everyone needs to contribute to fighting air pollution. Adopting clean alternative sources of energy for cooking, ensuring regular service of vehicles and avoiding open burnings are among simple measures to beat air pollution," Coletha Ruhamya, director general of Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), said while speaking at the event.
Jimmy Gasore, atmospheric scientist and station chief scientist at the climate observatory station of Rwanda, said air pollution is a leading environmental threat to human health, and acute respiratory diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, lung cancer and stroke.
Rwanda has strong political will and policy frameworks to beat air pollution and the task now is to bring different efforts together into a comprehensive green urbanization program, said Inhee Chung, Rwanda Country Representative of international inter-governmental organization, Global Green Growth Institute.
Data on the sources of air pollution in Rwanda indicate that vehicle emissions are the leading cause of air pollution in Kigali and other urban areas, the Rwandan ministry of environment said last week.
More than 90 percent of people globally breathe polluted air and approximately seven million people die from air pollution-related causes every year, according to REMA.
Air pollution costs the global economy 5 trillion U.S. dollars in welfare costs annually and ground-level ozone pollution is expected to reduce staple crop yields by 26 percent by 2030, it said.