According to the results from a new research conducted by the United Nations Children’s Fund, approximately 300 million children or about 1 in 7 kids around the globe are living in areas where the air pollution levels are deemed as toxic.
The results bring into light the dangerous fact that children are facing the worst threat to their health due to the environment they live in. The report was released about a month before the meeting of international leaders in Morocco in order to try and reduce carbon dioxide emissions and prevent global warming from worsening.
Satellite imagery was used by UNICEF in order to collect details regarding approximately 2 billion kids having to live in locations where the outdoor pollution is more than the minimum air-quality guidelines which have been set by WHO. Out of the total number of kids, around 300 million live in locations where the level of air pollution has become dangerous i.e. 6-7 times more than the international guidelines.
Poor quality of air is known to play a role in a variety of respiratory conditions such as bronchitis, asthma and pneumonia. According to statistics, air pollution has also been linked to more than half a million child deaths. All of the kids were below the age of 5. This number is approximately double the number of deaths due to malaria.
Though millions of adults also have to suffer from the negative effects of air pollution, the author of the current study, Nicholas Rees, said that children are highly vulnerable to harm. Kids also happen to breathe twice as quickly compared to adults and that is why they consume more polluted air. This increases the risk of infections as their immune systems are weaker and their brains are currently in the developing stage.
WHO also released a report last month that showed that near to 90% of the global population was breathing air that didn’t meet the standard set by the organization.
The air pollution sources are also the major reason behind global warming, especially emissions from fossil-fuel. Due to urban areas having more sources of air pollution, residents are experiencing higher risks of lung cancer, heart disease, and acute respiratory illnesses. The levels of air pollution are also increasing in a lot of urban areas, with poor citizens being at the greatest risk of health problems.
Results show that air pollution is linked to a large number of fatalities in Asia. A great threat is also being seen in parts of Africa due to the introduction of increased urbanization and industrialization.
Researchers stress that more focus needs to be put on providing the globe with clean, breathable air. Alternative energy sources need to be taken up by countries in order to properly handle their expanding populations. By placing measures meant to save lives, people will be saving the plant as well. The researchers are using the current results to urge world leaders to quickly take initiatives to protect human beings and life on Earth. Children should be given clean air to breathe because they are the future of their societies.