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World Environment Day 2019: beat air pollution

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Today, June 5, 2019, World Environment Day is celebrated once again. This year, it is dedicated to air pollution, one of the greatest challenges that humanity faces today.

From the environmental point of view, pollution reduces the amount of nutrients available in the substrate, preventing the growth of plants and aggravating the effects of climate change. Likewise, the emissions of nitrogen oxides and sulfur react in the atmosphere producing acid rain, causing an increase of nutrients in the water masses. This increase endangers aquatic ecosystems, since it causes plants and other aquatic organisms to grow in abundance, consuming dissolved oxygen and increasing organic matter in excess.

All this seriously affects living beings and the human being is no exception. Directly, high levels of contamination increase the risk of the onset of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and, indirectly, also affect the food chain, by increasing the levels of toxins and heavy metals as a result of the impact of contamination on plants.

Pollution causes an average of 4.2 million premature deaths per year according to WHO.

According to WHO information, pollution causes an average of 4.2 million premature deaths per year, with the vast majority occurring in low- and middle-income countries, especially in the Asian and Pacific regions. In this sense, China has been the country chosen as the global host of the celebration of this environmental day, given the leadership that this country has shown in the fight against air pollution at the national level. According to Joyce Msuya, Deputy Executive Director of the UN Environment, “China can now urge the world to respond more to this global emergency that affects everyone and will lead the momentum to save millions of lives.”

Clearly, we are at a critical moment, considering that every day we are more people on the planet and that our way of life is closely linked to the generation of air pollutants: transport, industry, agriculture or even life in the home.

World Environment Day, which is dedicated to air pollution, serves as an impetus for governments, communities, businesses and society to join in this battle.

To turn the tables, it is necessary to join forces in the search for solutions to this global problem, through sustainability and renewable energies. Undoubtedly, World Environment Day serves as an impetus for governments, communities, businesses and society to join in this battle.

Abengoa is aware of the crucial role played by the private sector in the search for solutions for this serious threat and, therefore, its business model is aimed at generating clean energy, minimizing the impact on air pollution. In this sense, the company has extensive experience in the construction of solar plants and wind farms. Today, solar plants that have been built or are under construction accumulate a generation power of 2.2 GW, equivalent to 34% of the installed capacity of solar thermal energy worldwide, while the wind energy installed capacity amounts to 480 MW.

This commitment is not only reflected on the solutions that the company offers, but it transcends further, considering environmental sustainability as a vector in the internal management of the company.

In this sense, Abengoa has articulated the necessary mechanisms to establish a global and homogeneous diagnosis of its environmental behavior in any activity or geography, guaranteeing that all legal, contractual and good environmental management practices are properly identified, controlled and oriented to the minimization of impacts throughout the life cycle, also promoting the fight against climate change and pollution.

However, there is still a long way to go. We all must make the wick of awareness and motivation that has lit the Environment Day does not go out and we continue, together, making this world a more habitable, less polluted and, consequently, more sustainable to #BeatAirPollution.

Pablo Collazo Sánchez, responsible for environmental sustainability at Abengoa.

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