International Day of Clean Air for blue skies

Today, the third International Day of Clean Air for blue skies will be commemorated, under the theme of ‘The Air We Share’. The day will help raise global awareness of air pollution and its devastating impact on health. The UN is very clear about the scale of the problem: Air pollution knows no national borders and is all pervasive. It is strongly correlated to other global crisis such as climate change, biodiversity loss, other forms of pollution, social and gender parity as well as economic development.

Developed countries have greatly improved their air quality in recent years but many developing countries, still reliant on wood and other solid fuels for cooking and heating, lag behind. The result is that many vulnerable and marginalised people also suffer from the worst air quality. These are the very people DelAgua is helping in rural Rwanda.  

Our Tubeho Neza stoves project is tackling the issue of household air pollution at scale, dramatically improving the air quality and the health of families who have received one of our stoves. To date we have distributed over 800,000 stoves across rural Rwanda. We have been working in Rwanda for 10 years and by the end of October this year will have provided 1 million stoves.

The DelAgua stoves’ contribution to ‘The Air We Share’ goes beyond household air pollution: cooking over open fires or inefficient stoves emits one-quarter of global black carbon emissions—the second largest contributor to climate change after carbon dioxide. The DelAgua stove also uses at least 71 % less wood and burns cleanly so CO2 emissions are reduced by 35 tons over its 10-year life. To find out more about the impact we are making in Rwanda click here.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres outlines steps needed to tackle air pollution in his 2022 message and acknowledges clean cooking as a key component in ensuring a healthy environment for all:

 “Climate change and air pollution are a deadly duo. On this third International Day of Clean Air for blue skies, I call on all countries to work together to combat air pollution. We know what to do: invest in renewable energy and swiftly transition away from fossil fuels; rapidly move to zero-emission vehicles and alternative modes of transport; increase access to clean cooking, heating and cooling; recycle waste instead of burning it.”

It’s time to work together for #TheAirWeShare.