We all know children are extremely vulnerable to the effects of air pollution. Reports suggest that about 93% of children get affected by toxic air. The risk is even higher in countries where 98% of kids are below 5 years of age – exposed to a high level of PM 2.5 concentration.
Air pollution is one of the leading threats to everyone’s health, especially children. According to WHO, children less than 5 years die due to breathing polluted air.
“Air pollution is stunting our children’s brains, affecting their health in more ways than we suspected. But there are many straight-forward ways to reduce emissions of dangerous pollutants,” says Maria Neira, Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health at WHO. “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, 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.
WHO report – Air pollution and Child Health: Prescribing Clean Air explores how children suffer from the rising ambient and household air pollution, every day. A lot of times, the sources of indoor and outdoor air pollution are unknown, hence, it becomes difficult for laymen to keep a track on the pollution level. The report also says that pregnant women exposed to air pollution – indoor and outdoor, are more likely to go through premature delivery.
Long exposure to air pollution can impact neurodevelopment and cognitive ability. This can cause asthma, cancer to children in their early age along with chronic illness such as cardiovascular disease later in life.