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Children In China Are Getting Sick: Parents Call For Government Action To Curb Smog Problem

Update Date: Jan 07, 2017 08:48 AM EST
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Parents are calling the government to solve the long-lasting problem with smog in Beijing, China. This is after more children are getting sick as a result of exposure to toxic air pollutants.

For over three weeks, a thick toxic smog has settled over the capital and much of China. Middle-class parents are mad about the lack of air filtration systems in Beijing schools. The outcry has spread over social media this week, prompting for the government to take action.

"Even though we have paid 5,000 yuan (S$1,000) to 6,000 yuan in monthly school fees, the money spent is worth it," the Beijing resident told the Chinese-language paper Wen Wei Po, as reported by Straits Times.

Now, schools and education authorities in Beijing agreed to install air purification equipment in schools and kindergartens in the pollution-plagued city. Announced by the Beijing Municipal Education Commission, the decision follows an extended orange alert in the capital, which is the second-highest on a four-level scale, South China Morning Post reports.

The schools will receive funding to install air purification systems and district education bureaus will decide which institutions benefit first.

For the past several years, toxic smog problems have been tormenting residents in the country, especially in its capital city. Schools and highways were closed and authorities advised residents to stay indoors.

Harmful Effects Of Toxic Smog

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the size of particles is associated with their potential for causing health problems. Particulate matter, which is present in toxic smog and are 10 micrometers in diameter, pose the greatest problems. This is because they can travel deep into the lungs and for some, they could even get into the bloodstream.

Exposure to such particles increases the risk of numerous health problems like premature death for people with lung and heart disease, nonfatal heart attacks, aggravated asthma, irregular heartbeat, decreased lung function and increased respiratory symptoms caused by the irritation of the airways.

Pregnant women, children, older adults and people with underlying diseases are at a higher risk of serious complications brought about by the exposure to air pollution and toxic smog.

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