Air Pollution Killed Over 1 Lakh Children in India in 2016

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World Health Organisation ( WHO) has warned that more than 90 percent of the world ' s children breathe polluted air that puts their health and development at serious risk, and tragically kills many of them.

General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in his latest 2018 report said, Air Pollution and Child Health: Prescribing Clean Air Monday, WHO estimated that in 2016, 600, 000 children died from acute lower respiratory infections caused by polluted air.

"Some of our children will not reach their full potential because of exposure to air pollution in the womb and in early life; some of our parents will die early because of exposure to it throughout their lives".

Park Won-soon, mayor of Seoul, South Korea, said "the WHO report clearly shows that adults' daily behaviors are threatening the health of innocent children".

It however advised parents to avoid household air pollution by using less polluting fuels for cooking and heating, as well as not smoking in the house.

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The study by the United Nations body, which examined the health toll on children breathing health-hazardous levels of both outdoor and household air pollution, focused on risky particulate matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres (PM2.5). "But there are many straight-forward ways to reduce emissions of unsafe pollutants", Maria Neira, Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health at WHO said.

The biggest gains would come from clean cooking, reducing emissions from industry, using renewable fuels for power generation and more efficient use of fertilisers.

World Health Organization estimates that half of all deaths in low and middle-income countries are due to acute lower respiratory infections like pneumonia and influenza.

According to the WHO, about 91% of the world's inhabitants inhale polluted air, resulting in about 7 million deaths each year. In high-income countries, 52% of children under five years are exposed to similar levels. "The withdrawal of western disturbances is likely to deteriorate the air quality further, as there is a spike in moisture levels and air becomes heavy, which increases its capacity to hold PM10 (particulate matter), causing more pollution", he added. It adds that one in 10 deaths among children under five years of age is due to air pollution.

As part of graded response action plan (GRAP) against rising air pollution in Delhi, Environment Pollution Control Authority on Tuesday said private cars may be stopped from plying in the capital if air pollution continues to worsen. Hopefully the awareness raised by this report and other related action initiatives will help contribute to the development of robust and quick-acting solutions to help reduce air pollution around the world. "As AAP and HAP share numerous same types of combustion sources, minimizing children's exposure to both forms of pollution, especially during the most sensitive developmental stages of early life, should take precedence over establishing near-certainty about the full extent of the risk and the mechanisms involved".

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