Study Says 1 in 7 Children Worldwide Breathes Polluted Air, How To Clean The Air? [video]
As much as 300 million children or 1 in 7 are exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution, which accounts for 12 percent of deaths in children under 5 years old worldwide. Hence, the United Nations is calling all international leaders to intensify the campaign on cleaning the air by investing in sustainable and greener development programs.
UNICEF presented a study last Monday, October 31 to show the dangers posed by air pollution to children, the most susceptible members of society.
The study used images taken by satellite to measure air quality in major cities, covering 2 billion children worldwide. It was discovered that 300 million children dwell in areas where outdoor pollution is at toxic level, 6-7 times higher than international standards.
Air pollution can bring respiratory complications like pneumonia, bronchitis or asthma in children, leaving their immune system compromised and significantly hampering proper brain development. Children are more susceptible because they breathe in the air faster than adults, allowing for particulate pollutants to invade their lungs and bloodstream.
The effects of poor air quality can be long-term, posing a huge threat to health even in adults, who also suffer the same kinds of health complications. Children from Asia are the most vulnerable followed by Africa with the increase in industrialization and fast expanding urbanization, according to the Washington Post report.
Toxic pollutants come primarily from burning fossil fuels to drive our machinery for production like in factories or gasoline for our cars, airplanes, or ships. Children from rural and low income families are also exposed to indoor air pollution from cooking with wood, dried leaves and even coal.
WHO has launched a campaign "Breathe Life: Clean Air, A Healthy Future," with the aim to eradicate air pollution as reported in Environment News Service. Its primary goal is to reduce in half the deaths caused by toxic air by the year 2030, which is the deadline set to attain the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The solution is clear and workable. All nations need to commit to moving from coal to a more sustainable energy source. The priorities should be in creating mass transits to significantly reduce carbon emissions, aggressively monitor air pollution by ensuring factories follow proper regulations, and prevent climate change.
Investing in green programs bring increased manpower productivity, less health care costs and a renewable source of energy for future generations. Evidently, saving the children is at the best interest of everyone.