Health problems are on the rise with the growing air pollution. However, few measures are being taken in various countries to clean the air, even then the issue is only getting worst. In several countries, air pollution is an absolute nightmare and children are affected the most.Right after the festival of lights the Indian capital saw air pollution at its worst.
Health hazards that children face due to air pollution
Air pollution has the worst impact on the developing lungs of small children and can result in several respiratory diseases. Children take in more air as compared to their weight and since their immune system and organs are in the developing stage, they get affected easily by pollution. Air pollution not only has an effect on the lungs, but it also damages the developing brains of young children. The air pollutants can cross the blood brain barrier and can permanently damage the brains of young children.
What facts and figures has UNICEF put forth regarding the effect of air pollution on children?
According to UNICEF around 300 million children in the world are exposed to polluted air. According to certain reports by the UN Children’s fund, air pollution is one of the biggest reasons for the death of children.According toUNICEF, air pollution results in the death of almost 600,000 children under the age of five every year.
More than 2 million children across the globe live in an environment where the quality of air is not as per the guidelines set by the World Health Organisation. Not just outside air pollution, but also indoor air pollution affects the health of young children adversely.
Air pollution and Asian countries
According to UNICEF 2 billion children are exposed to toxic air. Of this, 450 million are from East Asian countries like China and 620 million children living in South Asia. Of this a large chunk belongs to Northern India. New Delhi is worst affected by air pollution, especially in the winters. Burning of the spent crops in Haryana and Punjab makes things worse for the people of Delhi. A large number of children in Delhi suffer from health complication due to the air pollution.
What efforts should be taken to control air pollution across the globe?
When the UN meeting at Marrakesh is held to discuss climate change, UNICEF will urge the world leaders to take active steps in order to bring down air pollution. According to UNICEF the emphasis has to be on more use of sustainable energy. Proper and regular monitoring of the air is also essential. Steps should be taken to provide better healthcare to children. New mothers should be educated on the importance of breastfeeding in the first 6 months, as this helps prevent pneumonia in children. The government of different countries should also take appropriate measures to bring down air pollution. In cities like New Delhi, which is probably one of the most polluted cities in the world steps are being taken to make the air better. In New Delhi, cargo trucks are not allowed on the streets of the city. Emphasis is being laid on buying new cars which will help in curbing pollution.
Since January 2017 the number of cars on the roads of New Delhi is also going to be restricted. On certain days cars with license plates ending in even numbers will be permitted and on other days those ending with odd numbers. New Delhi has launched a smartphone app called “Change the Air” where residents can send photos and complaints about illegal pollution in the city.
With 88% children being subjected to toxic air, one has to understand that the situation is alarming.Most of the children who get affected are poor and cannot afford good healthcare measures. Stringent measures have to be taken to stop air pollution as it is killing the future of the globe.