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Air Pollution: Majority of children breathe toxic air

01 November 2018

A report from the World Health Organisation (WHO) says that air pollution is responsible for killing almost 600,000 children every year. Respiratory problems such as childhood asthma, lung function deficiencies, lower respiratory tract infections and even cancers are more likely among children exposed to air pollution, the report says.

The EEA's warning was echoed by a report also released Monday by the World Health Organization, which cited the particular danger to children from air pollution.

These are some of the findings of the WHO's Prescribing Clean Air report, which reveals that over 90% of the world's population breathe in toxic air and that around 7 million people die prematurely every year because of illnesses caused by air pollution.

Dr Tedros said one reason why children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of air pollution is that they breathe more rapidly than adults and so absorb more pollutants. Additionally, some pollutants reach peak concentrations lower to the ground, where children are breathing.

Together, household air pollution from cooking and outdoor air pollution cause more than half of all cases of acute lower respiratory infections in young children in low- and middle-income countries, World Health Organization said. Moreover, children who are exposed to high levels of air pollution may be at higher risk of developing chronic diseases later in life - ultimately hampering their quality of life.

Burning of farm lands in neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, use of older and more polluting vehicles and unfavourable weather conditions with low speed winds which have failed to disperse pollutants, have all contributed to this alarming situation. The WHO report examines the heavy toll of both ambient (outside) and household air pollution on the health of the children across world, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, like India. The goal of the conference is to raise awareness about the linkages between air pollution and health as well as to "rally the world towards major commitments to fight this problem".

The report is being launched on the eve of WHO's first ever Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health.

In high-income countries, 52 percent of children under five are exposed to such levels.

WHO is taking on the battle against air pollution because its devastating health impacts make it our fight, too.

"It is essential that we control local sources of pollution at this time so that the crisis is managed", it said in a statement.

WHO Director for public health and environment. We are talking about putting at risk a new generation of having a reduced IQ.

The WHO is working with health professionals not only to help their patients, but also to give them the skills and evidence to advocate for health in policy decisions such as moving away from fossil-fuel-powered energy and transport. The Trump administration has praised the progress the USA has made in achieving cleaner air, but is also rolling back regulations from the Obama administration that aimed to curb pollution from power plans, cars, and oil wells.

The EEA said on Monday that exposure to fine pollution particles known as PM2.5 was responsible for around 391,000 premature deaths in the 28-nation bloc in 2015.

Air Pollution: Majority of children breathe toxic air