WHO-- More than 1.8 billion children breathe toxic air daily - SyCtRenDs

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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

WHO-- More than 1.8 billion children breathe toxic air daily


A new report released on Tuesday by the World Health Organisation, WHO, revealed that not less than 1.8 billion (93 percent) children around the world breathe toxic air daily.WHO

The report which focused on Air pollution and child health raised the alarm noted that the air is so polluted that it puts their health and development at serious risk.

According to the WHO in the report, tragically, many of them die.  It further estimated that in 2016, 600,000 children died from acute lower respiratory infections caused by polluted air.

The report which further prescribed clean air examined the heavy toll of both ambient (outside) and household air pollution on the health of the world’s children, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

Reacting to the report which was launched on the eve of WHO’s first ever Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health, WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said:  “Air Pollution is stunting our children’s brains, affecting their health in more ways than we suspected and is poisoning millions of children and ruining their lives.

“Every child should be able to breathe clean air so they can grow and fulfil their full potential.”

WHO has revealed that pregnant women, who are exposed to polluted air, are more likely to give birth prematurely, and have small or low birth-weight children.

In her remarks, Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health, WHO, Dr Maria Neira, said: “Air pollution also impacts neurodevelopment and cognitive ability and can trigger asthma, and childhood cancer. Children who have been exposed to high levels of air pollution may be at greater risk for chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease later in life.

“Newborns and young children are also more susceptible to household air pollution.  One reason why children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of air pollution is that they breathe more rapidly than adults and so absorb more pollutants.  They also live close to the ground, where some pollutants reach peak concentrations, at a time when their brains and bodies are still developing.

She disclosed that WHO is supporting the implementation of health-wise policy measures like accelerating the switch to clean cooking and heating fuels and technologies, promoting the use of cleaner transport and energy-efficient housing and urban planning.

“We are preparing the ground for low emission power generation, cleaner, safer industrial technologies and better municipal waste management,” she added.

She urged countries to work towards meeting WHO global air quality guidelines to enhance the health and safety of children.

She argued that to achieve the goal, governments should adopt measures such as reducing the over-dependence on fossil fuels in the global energy mix, investing in improvements in energy efficiency and facilitating the uptake of renewable energy sources among others.

   


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