Deputy Lord Mayor Jess Scully, put forward a motion to restrict advertising for coal, oil and gas products that was passed in August 2022. Companies promoting fossil fuels will be excluded from council-run events like New Year’s Eve as well as on its outdoor sites and advertising property network. This followed a campaign by Comms Declare where an open letter, supported by over 200 healthcare organisations and individuals, pointed to the negative impacts fossil fuels have on the health of Australians.
Letter signatories that included paediatricians, neuroscientists, GPs, physiotherapists and other healthcare professionals, asked readers to protect Australians from reduced health outcomes caused by fossil fuels.
“Living near fracking wells has been linked to premature births and early deaths. Air pollution from fossil fuels alone takes 8.7 million lives prematurely each year – the same as tobacco,” the letter outlined.
World health and economic organisations agree with Australian health professionals, noting that the world is struggling with less-than-optimal air quality. According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) air quality database, reported in April 2022, 99% of the global population breathes air that exceeds WHO air quality limits. Efforts like the Fossil Ad Ban campaign in Australia, that utilises doctors and nurses to raise awareness, is the sort of action that the World Economic Forum suggests is needed to gain broad public understanding and political backing to encourage better air quality management.
Support is growing for these education campaigns. In April 2022, Yarra council passed a bill banning fossil fuel advertising, followed by the Moreland council in July 2022. Globally, Amsterdam and city councils in the UK have already moved to remove such advertising. France has gone further to ban fossil fuel advertising across the country with gas advertising expected to follow.
Sue Higginson, Greens MP, plans to introduce the Public Health and Safety (Fossil Fuel Advertising) Bill 2022 across NSW, similar to the ban on tobacco advertising, so more residents can breathe a little easier.
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