According to recently released World Health Organisation (WHO) report titled “Inheriting a sustainable world: Atlas on children’s health and the environment”, polluted environment kills around 1.7 million children a year.
The report provides a comprehensive overview of the environment’s impact especially air pollution on children’s health, illustrating the scale of the challenge.
Key Highlights from Report
- Every year, environmental risks such as outdoor and indoor air pollution, unsafe water, second-hand smoke, lack of sanitation and inadequate hygiene results in quarter of all global deaths of children under five.
- Large portion of the most common causes of death among children are diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia due to pollution.
- Harmful exposures also increase the risk of premature birth. When infants and pre-schoolers are exposed to air pollution they have an increased lifelong risk of chronic respiratory diseases, such as asthma.
- Exposure to air pollution may also increase their lifelong risk of stroke, heart disease and cancer. Children’s developing organs and immune systems, and smaller bodies and airways, make them vulnerable pollution.