UNICEF Says 17 Million Babies At Risk From Toxic Air

08 December, 2017, 01:06 | Author: Terri Saunders

The executive Director of UNICEF, Mr Anthony Lakes, gave out a statement which states that it is not just the developing lungs of babies that are harmed by Pollutants, even damage of developing brains could happen because of pollutants.

The UNICEF study used satellite imagery to identify an infant population of 12 million in South Asia at greatest risk from pollution, exceeding air pollution limits set by the World Health Organization by sixfold. "Protecting children from air pollution not only benefits children".

A Unicef report states that toxic air severely affects children's brain development and may cause a permanent damage to their brains. The East Asia and Pacific region is home to some 4.3 million babies living in areas that exceed six times the limit.

Good air quality is as important as adequate nutrition, and stimulation is important in the first 1,000 days of life for the child's growth, the report "Danger in the Air" said.

UNICEF's paper added that ultrafine pollution particles posed "an especially high risk" as they could more easily enter into the bloodstream and then travel through the body to the brain. Broader suggestions made about "smart urban planning" included absence of coal-plants near schools, clinics, hospitals or anywhere where they can cause harm to children.

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Air pollution potentially affects children's brains through several mechanisms. Delhi's air pollution is now discussed at worldwide level as the air pollution in the capital is worst in the world and in during winters its impact is severe.

It also suggests investing in cleaner, renewable sources of energy to replace fossil fuel combustion; provide affordable access to public transport; increase green spaces in urban areas; and provide better waste management options to prevent open burning of harmful chemicals.

The paper urges parents to take steps to reduce children's exposure to harmful chemicals, including from tobacco products and cooking stoves. Children are also highly vulnerable to air pollution because they breathe more rapidly and also because their physical defences and immunities are not fully developed.

· Improve children's overall health to improve their resilience. The findings come at a time when India, particularly in the north, is facing a serious crisis due to rising levels of pollution. The result of same has deteriorated lungs of many children in Delhi and the pollution levels are affecting fetuses too.

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