Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

93% children below 15 exposed to polluted air

Delhi Air Pollution Rising Vehicular Emission a Major Contributor in Deteriorating Air Quality in NCR Image Used for Representational Purpose Only
Anna Jefferson | 30 October, 2018, 04:29

The report is being launched on the eve of WHO's first ever Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health. It also comes as the World Health Organisation (WHO) reports on the numbers of child deaths and illnesses linked to poor air quality. Now it must do the same for the "new tobacco" - the toxic air that billions breathe every day.

The UK Health Alliance on Climate Change (UKHACC), which represents key medical bodies and includes the BMJ, the British Medical Association, and the Royal College of Nursing, has reportedly asked the government to introduce a new clean air act.

More than nine in 10 children around the world are living in areas of toxic air pollution, global health leaders have warned.

Delhi's air continued to remain in the "very poor" category with an overall Air Quality Index (AQI) of 348 on Monday.

Air pollution can also cause childhood cancers, asthma, poor lung function, pneumonia and other types of acute lower respiratory infection, the report said.

On the other, 52 percent of children under the age of five in high-income countries are exposed to PM2.5 levels above the World Health Organization quality guidelines.

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, he says.

"Air Pollution is stunting our children's brains, affecting their health in more ways than we suspected".

Note: The PM2.5 has reached unsafe levels in New Delhi in the last two weeks. In comparison, in high-income countries, 52% of children under 5 are exposed to such levels.

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In India, the deaths of about 61,000 children below the age of five could be attributed to ambient levels of PM2.5, while another about 67,000 deaths were caused by household air pollution, due to the burning of fuels like kerosene for cooking, heating and lighting.

In an alarming reflection of poor air quality in the state, 10 out of 12 most polluted cities of the country on Monday were from UP.

The report also found that 76,000 early deaths were linked to nitrogen dioxide and some 16,400 to ground-level ozone in European Union countries in the same year.

Dr. Maria Neira is the WHO's Director for public health and environment.

The current levels of atmospheric pollution in Europe still exceeds the norms approved by the European Union and the World Health Organization.

"Air pollution is an invisible killer and we need to step up our efforts to address the causes", said the head of the agency, Hans Bruyninckx.

The EEA study also revealed that the highest concentrations of PM2.5 are in northern Italy, Poland, the Balkans and Turkey.

A long-delayed national plan to clean up the air in 100 most polluted cities in India, is yet to be finalised after it was panned by air pollution activists for being weak and failing to set time-bound targets. Cooking fuels such as wood, coal or dung cause household air pollution.

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