About 300 million children, or almost one in seven children worldwide live in areas with the highest levels of air pollution on the planet. The content of harmful substances in it six or more times higher than the limit values set by the world health organization (who).
It is stated in the report “clearing the air for children: the Impact of air pollution on children”, published on 31 October on the website of the UN childrenís Fund (UNICEF). To conduct the study used satellite imagery to first show the extent of the problem and to demonstrate areas where it was most acute.
Analysis of images from satellites has confirmed that approximately 2 billion children on the planet live in regions with air pollution, caused by such factors as emissions from the transport of combustion products, the intensive use of fossil fuels, dust and burning of waste.
The greatest number of children 620 million – live in areas with polluted air in South Asia. In second place, Africa, where air pollution suffer 520 million. This is followed by East Asia and Pacific region with 450 million children living in areas where pollution exceeds targets set by the who.
The study also discusses the problem of air pollution indoors caused by use of coal and wood as fuel for cooking and heating homes. Basically this negative factor faced by children from poor families living in rural areas.
Air pollution indoors and outdoors are closely associated with occurrence of pneumonia and other respiratory diseases, which account for nearly one in ten children die before the age of five years. This makes air pollution one of the main dangers to the health of children on Earth.
According to the Executive Director of UNICEF, Anthony lake, air pollution is a major factor contributing to the annual loss of 600 thousand children under the age of five years, and “every day more and more threatens the lives and future of millions.” “Pollutants harm children’s developing lungs – they can actually cross the blood brain barrier and permanently damage their developing brain and, thus, their future. No society can afford to ignore air pollution”, – said the representative of the Fund.
Children are more than adults susceptible to the negative effects of indoor and outdoor air pollution, because their lungs, brain and immune system are in development. In addition, young children breathe faster than adults, absorbing more air relative to the weight of his body. The most vulnerable to diseases caused by air pollution are the poor, who tend to have poorer health and lack of access to health services.
The UNICEF report was published a week before the start of the 22nd annual UN conference on climate change, which will begin in Marrakech on 7 November and runs until 18 November. At a meeting in Morocco the UN Children’s Fund plans to urge world leaders to take urgent action to reduce air pollution in their countries. To do this, governments will have to go for reduction of flaring of fossil fuels, and investment in energy saving and developing renewable sources of energy. Also UNICEF will require the country’s leadership to improve the availability of medical care for children, to minimize the impact of negative factors and monitoring of air pollution.
In September, the who reportedthat the number of inhabitants of the Earth living in areas with dangerous levels of air pollution, is 92%. According to the organization, every year because of air pollution kills about three million people.
In may 2016, the world health organization reportedthat more than 80% of the inhabitants of cities are forced to breathe air, the content of harmful substances which exceed the limits established by the who. It was noted that the highest rates of contamination observed in countries with low and middle income regions of the Eastern Mediterranean and South-East Asia.
It turned out that from 2008 to 2013, the degree of air pollution in cities around the world increased by 8% only in some regions was recorded improvement in this indicator. The who stated that air pollution represents the highest risk to health, causing premature death of three million people worldwide every year.