The mayors of Paris, Copenhagen, Seoul, and Medellín are urging automakers to stop building gasoline and diesel cars as soon as possible, following a World Health Organization report that found 630 million children around the world are exposed to unsafe air.
“The health of our children is more important than the health of your profits,” Paris Mayor and C40 Cities Chair Anne Hidalgo said in a release.
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The mayors called on their counterparts in every city around the world to join C40 Cities’ Green & Healthy Streets Declaration, which commits its signatories “to procure only zero-emission buses from 2025 and ensure that a major area of their city is zero emission by 2030,” C40 states.
“The children of Paris and cities around the world have the absolute right to breathe clean air,” said Hidalgo. “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.”
While many mayors are prioritizing walking, cycling, and clean public transport, “the figures released by the WHO today reveal that we must do even more,” she added.
“No single adult on the planet can be free from the pain suffered by our children due to air pollution,” said Seoul Mayor and C40 Vice-Chair Park Won-soon. He called on automakers to “join us in cleaning the air and protecting our future—children—by exponentially increasing zero-carbon vehicle production.”
“Taking action to improve the quality of our air is an imperative, not an option,” and “building a sustainable city and planet requires working for the welfare of our people, especially our children,” said Medellín Mayor and C40 Vice-Chair Federico Gutiérrez. “We have better fuel today and, step by step, we are migrating towards a future of electric mobility that will allow us to breathe better. We are all part of the pollution problem, so we must all contribute to the solution.”
The release lists 26 cities that have signed the Green & Healthy Streets Declaration: Auckland, Barcelona, Birmingham, Cape Town, Copenhagen, Greater Manchester, Heidelberg, Honolulu, London, Los Angeles, Medellín, Mexico City, Milan, Oslo, Oxford, Paris, Quito, Rome, Rotterdam, Seattle, Santa Monica, Seoul, Tokyo, Vancouver, Warsaw, and West Hollywood.
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