At EMSOL, we feel the SDGs don’t do enough for clean air. We explain why below, and how EMSOL can help you tackle air pollution, going above and beyond the SDGs.
What are the SDGs?
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 goals and 169 targets set by the United Nations, which were adopted by all Member States in 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. They address global challenges including poverty, inequality, economic growth, climate change, environmental degradation, peace, and justice.
Why are the SDGs important?
It is important for towns, cities, and businesses to have some kind of goal and direction for sustainability. The 17 UN SDGs provide a basic framework that can help businesses and governments work towards improving the health and well-being of residents, and build a better society.
What do the SDGs say about air quality?
Controversially, there is no singular SDG for clean air. However, improving air quality is a target within SDG 3,7 and 11. We will focus on SDG11, Sustainable Communities and Cities, because it specifically links to urban air quality, a problem which kills more than 7 million people a year.
SDG 11 is defined as Sustainable Cities and Communities. The focus here is to “make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”. Urban air quality is a vital part of this and the UN explicitly mention reducing particulate matter in order to achieve this.
Why the SDGs aren’t enough for air quality
Firstly, SDG11 isn’t the most immediate priority for businesses. The 17 SDGs encompass a huge range of goals, and therefore it isn’t surprising that businesses aren’t focused on achieving them all of them with the same focus. The most popular SDGs are SDG 8,decent work and economic growth, and SDG 13, climate change. Businesses like EMSOL therefore have an important role in continually pushing for the clean air agenda.
Secondly, SDG11 isn’t just focused on air quality. SDG 11 encompasses 10 targets and 15 indicators, which touch on things like safe and affordable housing. Therefore, the importance of clean air can take a backseat to other objectives within SDG 11.
Thirdly, there have been a lack of solutions until now. Granular data and IoT systems like EMSOL’s are comprehensive enough to tackle urban air quality in a meaningful way. But this has not always been the case. Before 2015 when the SDGs were created these market solutions weren’t comprehensive and widely used.
How EMSOL can change this
EMSOL’s platform allows businesses and governments to actionably reduce air pollution. Our system allows you to identify the causes of air pollution in real time and make changes to improve local air quality. Moving forward, this is an important part of the clean air picture for cities.
The SDGs are vital for entering a more sustainable world, but they do not do enough to deal with the problem of air pollution. At EMSOL, we feel it is important to highlight this and how we can help you not only act on the SDGs, but go beyond them.