Air Pollution is Killing More Than Million Children Each Year: WHO

NDTV Food  |  Updated: March 06, 2017 16:53 IST

Air Pollution is Killing More Than Million Children Each Year: WHO
  • Environmental pollutants lead to nearly 1.7 million deaths in children
  • Causes include factors like lack of sanitation and poor hygiene
  • Second-hand smoke can also lead to an increased risk of pneumonia
Pollution - we are reading about it in papers, we are watching about it on our televisions, movies and documentaries, we are also doing our bit to curtail it as much as we can. But are we succeeding? Are we too late in preventing the world from its doom? Yes and No both. In another report on how pollution has become a cause of menace for the environment in past few decades, the World Health Organization has dropped a bomb of a revelation; each year, up to 1.7 million children under five years of age die because of air pollution. The report, however, also suggests a few precautionary measures as to how we can save our children from the exposure.

It is no hidden fact that air pollution is on the rise to alarming levels, with the capability of putting us all at health risks. Every other time there seems to be reports of how it's increasing respiratory illnesses across the globe, causing severe allergies and even death. While there have been initiatives implemented to cut down the toxic levels of air pollutants, they seem to be moving in a tortoise-like pace. Much like air-conditioners, air purifiers have now started to become a must-have appliance at home.

While there is no escaping the clutches of air pollution completely, one can still take adequate precautions to curb down the ill-effects. In the WHO report, the causes of death are attributed to factors such as lack of sanitation, poor hygiene practices, unsafe water, injuries as well as outdoor and indoor air pollution and second hand smoke. The latter two can also lead to an increased risk of pneumonia during childhood, as well chronic respiratory chronic respiratory diseases like asthma for the rest of their lives.

Margaret Chan, the director general of WHO, remarked that exposure to a polluted environment can prove to be a "deadly" deal particularly for young children. "Their developing organs and immune systems, and smaller bodies and airways, make them especially vulnerable to dirty air and water" she added.

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Increased risk of heart diseases, stroke and cancer on exposure to air pollutants, were amongst the other risks highlighted in the report.

The statistics are a cause of distress to the entire world, which is struggling each day to cut down on the levels of pollution. Environmentalists and scientists across the globe are spending days and nights to come up with measures in curtailing the rise of pollution. The report also came in with handy precautionary measures.


The most common causes of child death like malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia can be prevented by measures like using insecticide-treated bed nets, better access to clean water and clean cooking fuels. Removing pests and mould from housing, reduced use of lead paints, good nutrition and sanitation in schools, and an enhanced urban planning accommodating more free space and greenery in concrete-packed cities are other potential pollution control measures suggested in the report

Inputs from IANS

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