Health Care

Toxic air killed over 1 lakh children in India in 2016

Toxic air killed over 1 lakh children in India in 2016”

The report is being launched on the eve of WHO's first ever Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health.

The report also found that 98 percent of all children under five in low and middle income countries are exposed to levels of fine particulate matter, or PM2.5, above World Health Organization air quality guidelines.

According to the report, when pregnant women are exposed to polluted air, they are more likely to give birth prematurely and have small, low birth-weight children.

Over 90 per cent of the world's population suffers from toxic air and research is increasingly revealing the profound impacts it has on the health of people, especially children.

"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 report, titled "Air pollution and Child Health: Prescribing Clean Air", estimates that about six lakh children below the age of 15 died due to toxic outdoor and indoor air pollution across the world in 2016.

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

The European Environment Agency on Monday issued its 2018 report on air quality and said emissions from road traffic, agriculture, energy production, industry and households are churning out pollutants like particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and ground-level ozone. These regions have six times higher air pollution than recommended permissible levels she said.

The authors say that children are at greater risk than adults from the many adverse health effects of air pollution because their lungs, organs and brains are still maturing.

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

The air pollution related mortality and disease burden India faces is also the highest in the world.

The PM2.5 has reached unsafe levels in New Delhi in the last two weeks.

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

Air pollution accounts for one in 10 deaths of children under the age of five, the report said.

A WHO assessment released earlier this year found that 14 out of the 20 most polluted cities in the world are in India.

The findings come just weeks after an EU watchdog said most member states fail to meet the bloc's air quality targets, warning that the toll on health in eastern European countries was even worse than in China and India.

In 2015, concentrations of PM2.5 were slightly lower than the previous year, while the levels of NO2 and O3 were higher.

This includes using clean cooking and heating fuels and technologies.

It called for acute response policies, measures and actions globally.



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