Discussions on the Reduction of Air Pollution

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UZA News

Air pollution is a major global issue, with the World Health Organization (WHO) reporting that nearly seven million people die each year due to diseases caused by breathing polluted air. In addition to its impact on human health, air pollution also results in significant economic losses, estimated at over $8 trillion annually, and causes harm to the environment. The first High-Level Central Asia Policy Dialogue was co-organized by the Ministry of Ecology, Environmental Protection, and Climate Change of Uzbekistan, the World Bank, and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The event, with the theme “Building a Clean Air Future in Central Asia,” aimed to promote coordinated regional action and knowledge sharing to combat air pollution.

Senior officials from Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan were present at the dialogue. It was highlighted that the main cause of air pollution-related diseases and premature deaths in the region is particulate matter 2.5 microns or less in diameter (PM2.5). These pollutants often exceed the WHO Ambient Air Quality Guidelines multiple times, especially during the winter when the heating sector is in full operation. According to IQAir, many cities in Central Asia are among the most polluted in the world.

The World Bank’s report on Air Quality Assessment in Tashkent city and the roadmap for improving air quality management in Uzbekistan revealed that healthcare costs aimed at reducing PM2.5 air pollution range from 5.1 to 7.3 percent of the GDP of Central Asian countries. During the event, participants discussed air quality management policies and practices in their respective countries, explored data-sharing methods and their implications, and identified key areas for enhanced regional collaboration in air quality management. It was emphasized that implementing health-based air quality standards, comprehensive air quality management strategies and policies, advanced air pollution forecasting tools, and promoting regional cooperation to address local and transboundary pollution are crucial for Central Asian countries to achieve their common development goals.

Mukhayyo Toshqorayeva, UzA

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