Air pollution impacts children below five immensely, says WHO recent report

March 20, 2017 01:14 PM

Punjab News Express/Y.S.Rana
CHANDIGARH: A recent report of the World Health Organization (WHO) poses a big challenge before the society and warns to fight the challenge of air pollution within a frame work. The report "Don't pollute my future," states that every year environment risks such as indoor-outdoor air pollution, unsafe water, lack of sanitation take the lives of 1.7 million children below five years across the world.

More than seven in 4 deaths of children under five years are attributed to unhealthy environment, states the report and adds top five causes of death in children linked to environments. It show the magnitude of impact of environment on children's health. It provides a comprehensive overview of the environment on children especially below five years of age by illustrating the scale of the challenge.

Every year 5.70 lakh children under five die from respiratory infections, such as pneumonia, attributable to indoor and outdoor air pollution. Besides 3.61 lakh children die due to diarrhoea due to poor access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene.

Almost one in seven of world's children, 300 million, live in areas with the most toxic levels of outdoor air pollution. For the first time UNICEF has used satellite imagery to show how many children are exposed to pollution that exceeds global guidelines set by the WHO.

About 2.70 lakh children die during their first month of their life including prematurity. Report suggests that it could be prevented through access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene as well as reducing air pollution. More than two lakh deaths of children under five from malaria could be prevented through environmental actions, says the report.

"Pollutants do not only harm children's developing lungs, these can actually cross the blood-brain barrier and damange the sensitive brains permanently and their future," warns the report.

No society can afford to ignore air pollution!

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