London, Oct 30 (IANS) The Mayors of Paris, Copenhagen, Seoul, and Medellin on Monday called for vehicle manufacturers to stop producing petrol and diesel cars as soon as possible to protect the health of children in cities around the world.
In the wake of an alarming new research released by the World Health Organization (WHO) earlier in the day, the mayors also urged every city around the world to help their youngest citizens by signing the C40 Green and Healthy Streets Declaration.
The declaration commits mayors to procure only zero-emission buses from 2025 and ensure that a major area of their city is zero emission by 2030.
"The children of Paris and cities around the world have the absolute right to breathe clean air," Mayor of Paris and Chair of C40 Anne Hidalgo said.
"They have no power to change the environment they are growing up in, so we as responsible adults and political leaders must act on their behalf."
"The problem of petrol and diesel vehicles polluting our streets needs to be fixed if we want to improve air quality and protect the health of our children,a said Frank Jensen, Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, and Vice-Chair of C40 Cities.
The WHO report "Air pollution and child health: Prescribing clean air" urges "strong action from decision-makers to protect the most vulnerable, voiceless citizens: children who have little or no control over the air they breathe".
It says every day around 93 per cent of the children globally under the age of 15 years (1.8 billion children) breathe air that is so polluted it puts their health and development at serious risk. Tragically, many of them die.
To tackle the man-made crisis, mayors of the world's big cities are already committing to the bold action required to deliver clean, safe air for all to breathe, as well as delivering on the highest goals of the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement.
Twenty-six cities have already committed to Green and Healthy Streets. They included Paris, Copenhagen, London, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Seoul, Barcelona, Quito, Vancouver, Cape Town, Seattle, Mexico City, Auckland, Milan, Rome, Warsaw, Oslo, Rotterdam, Medellin, Heidelberg and Birmingham.
More than 80,000 buses run on the streets of these 26 cities, representing a major shift towards zero emission vehicles in the world's great cities.