Polluted Air Kills 600, 000 Children Globally - WHO DG

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More than 90% of children around the world breathe polluted air that can harm their health and development, according to a new report by the World Health Organization.

General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in his latest 2018 report said, Air Pollution and Child Health: Prescribing Clean Air Monday, WHO estimated that in 2016, 600, 000 children died from acute lower respiratory infections caused by polluted air.

The publication of the report, "Air Pollution in Asia and the Pacific: Science based solutions", on Tuesday coincides with the World Health Organization holding its first global air pollution conference in Geneva this week.

According to him, air pollution also affects neuro - development and cognitive ability and can trigger asthma, and childhood cancer.

Another type of pollutant was remarkably present in the Africa, where people are exposed to high levels of HAP triggered by the widespread use of fuel and polluting technologies in the basic daily needs, such as cooking, heating and lighting.

"The first-ever conference on air pollution and health by WHO speaks of the urgency to act on rising pollution levels".

Reportedly, indoor air pollution such as the burning of fossil fuel like coal led to the death of 67,000 children below the age of five in India, whereas around 61,000 children died due to outdoor air pollution.

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"As the world gets hotter and more crowded, our engines continue to pump out dirty emissions and half of the world has no access to clean fuels or technologies like stove or lamps". More than 2 million deaths occur in India prematurely every year, accounting for 25% of the global deaths due to poor air quality. "But there are many straightforward ways to reduce emissions of risky pollutants", said Dr. Maria Neira, director of the Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health at the WHO.

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

Helena Molin Valdés, head of Climate and Clean Air Coalition Secretariat at U.N. Environment, said there was increasing political openness to taking action on air pollution and the report reflected three years of discussions with governments.

Steps should also be taken to limit children's exposure to polluted air by building schools and playgrounds farther away from power plants, factories and busy roads, the release added.

United Nations claims that if the suggested measures are implemented, annual premature mortality associated with indoor air pollution can decline by 75%.

D Saha, an environmentalist, said India is a tropical country and the influence of natural dust is much higher as compared with developed countries. The overall Air Quality Index (AQI) at 3 pm was 401, falling in the "severe" category, the highest this season, Central Pollution Control Board officials said.

At the conference stakeholders including governments, heads of worldwide organisations, city representatives and NGOs have been invited to make voluntary commitments towards reducing air pollution.

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