Toxic Air both Indoor and Outdoor kills 600,000 Children Each Yearby Shruthi Venkatesh November 7 2018, 3:25 pm Estimated Reading Time: 2 mins, 45 secs
The World Health Organization has revealed that the exposure to toxic air, indoor as well as outdoor, kills over some 600,000 children under the age of 15 every year. Data from the UN health body shows that every day, 93 percent of children under the age of 15 – a full 1.8 billion youngsters, including 630 million under the age of five – breath dangerously polluted air. Moreover, in 2016 alone around 600,000 children died from acute respiratory infections caused by polluted air.
Air pollution is the most harmful gas a human could breathe, especially it becomes more dangerous for children and accounts for nearly one in 10 deaths among children under five around the globe. “Polluted air is poisoning millions of children and ruining their lives,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement. “This is inexcusable. Every child should be able to breathe clean air so they can grow and fulfil their full potential.” According to WHO data, more than nine out of 10 people on the planet breathe dangerously toxic air, causing some seven million premature deaths each year.
Deadly indoor air pollution (smithsonianmag)
The study examines the health toll on children breathing such harmful gases which includes toxins like sulphate and black carbon - the greatest health risks since they can penetrate deep into the lungs or cardiovascular system. The report found that children in poorer countries are far more at risk, with a full 98 per cent of all children under five in low- and middle-income countries exposed to PM 2.5 levels above WHO air quality guidelines. That compares to 52 per cent in high-income countries, WHO said.
Household air pollution caused by cooking and outdoor air pollution cause more than half of all cases of acute lower respiratory infections in young children in low- and middle-income countries. The report was launched in WHO’s first ever Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health. Also pregnant women, who are exposed to polluted air, are more likely to give birth prematurely and have small, low birth weight children. It seems more sad to know that children are often more vulnerable to the impact of air pollution since they breath more rapidly than adults, and thus absorb more pollutants at a time when their brains and bodies are still developing. The WHO points out that newborns and young children live closer to the ground, where a number of pollutants reach peak concentrations. It states air pollution can impact a child’s development and cognitive ability, and can trigger asthma and childhood cancer.
“Air pollution is stunting our children’s brains, affecting their health in more ways than we suspected,” warned Maria Neira, the head of the WHO’s department of public health and environment. The UN health body is calling for an acceleration of the switch to clean cooking and heating fuels, and for the promotion of cleaner transportation, lower emissions, and better waste management, among other measures. “The world needs to reduce the over dependence we have on fossil (fuel), and accelerate to clean, renewable energy,” Neira told reporters in a conference call.
It’s now up to the people to save our future generation and safeguard our mother earth. Start thinking and make it as a priority.