Pollution kills 600,000 children a year

Pollution kills 600,000 children a year

Pollution kills 600,000 children a year

These and other methods of preventing air pollution will be discussed at WHO's first Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health, which will be held at the WHO headquarters in Geneva from October 30 to November 1.

Ambient and household air pollution disproportionately impact children below the age of five years, and girls, the report found, and can potentially harm unborn babies of pregnant women exposed to foul air.

Last week, the CPCB recommended that people avoid heavy workouts, try to get themselves less exposed to toxic air, and cut down on the use of private cars at least for the next 10 days.

"WHO is supporting implementation of health-wise policy measures like accelerating the switch to clean cooking and heating fuels and technologies, promoting the use of cleaner transport, energy-efficient housing and urban planning".

The UN health agency concluded that, worldwide, indoor and outdoor air pollution contributed to respiratory tract infections that resulted in 543,000 deaths in children under the age of five in 2016.

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The report shows that, overall, the concentrations of PM2.5 were responsible for about 422,000 premature deaths in 41 European countries in 2015. "But there are many straight-forward ways to reduce emissions of unsafe pollutants", says Maria Neira, Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health at WHO.

They also breathe more rapidly than adults in general, causing them to ingest more pollutants.

The PM2.5 (or particles with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres present in the air), also called "fine particulates", can be a matter of more serious health concern than PM10 (those with a diameter of less than 10 micrometres). "But there are many straight-forward ways to reduce emissions of unsafe pollutants", Dr. Maria Neira, director of the Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health at WHO, said in the press release.

Note: The PM2.5 has reached risky levels in New Delhi in the last two weeks.

Almost 98 per cent of all children under five are exposed to risky PM2.5 levels in developing countries around the globe.

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

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.

An increase in air quality index signifies increased air pollution and severe threats to human health.

The organisation urged nations, local administrations, inter-governmental organisations and scientists to take necessary measures to keep air pollution in check. Cooking fuels such as wood, coal or dung cause household air pollution.

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