As the estimate of world air pollution increases, children are at higher risk of ‘breathing in’ and ‘living with’ toxic air.
A new report from United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) says that about 300 million children (1/7th of the world’s population) are living in areas where the air exceeds international limits by at least six times.
According to the report, children are more predisposed to breathing toxic air because they breathe much faster than the average adult and take in more air relative to their body weight even though their body organs are still developing.
Children from South-East Asia, Africa, India and the Pacific regions are more at risk.
According to a report by World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 90% of air pollution related deaths occur in low and middle income countries, with nearly 2 out of 3 occurring in WHO’s South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions.
The effects of air pollution can be deadly as it affects the lungs, the brain, the eyes and also the respiratory system.
The report notes that air pollution is a major contributing factor in the deaths of around 600,000 children under age 5 every year and it threatens the lives of even more.
Air pollution can either be outdoor or indoor, and their effects are both deadly. Some of the major causes of air pollution are:
— Dust storms ( in the desert areas)
— Vehicle emissions
— Smoke from construction sites
— Cooking with firewood
— Exhaust from generators
— Burning of waste etc.
The future of children lie in the hands of world leaders. UNICEF urges world leaders to enforce measures that will aid cleaner air.
UNICEF urges them to:
— Reduce air pollution
— Minimize children’s exposure to pollution
— Better monitor air pollution levels
— Increase access to children’s health care.
Question: How bad do you think this situation is in Nigeria especially in the South-south region? Feel free to answer in the comment section below. If you have any questions, please ask here.