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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

300m children exposed to toxic air says UNICEF

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has revealed that an estimated 300 million children globally are exposed to toxic air through living in areas with outdoor air contaminated in excess of six times over international pollution guidelines, reports NaijaAgroNet.

This was contained in the latest UNICEF report tagged ‘Clear the air for children’  which also indicated  could cause serious health damage, including harming their developing brains.

UNICEF’s Executive Director Anthony Lake told NaijaAgroNet that pollutants do not only harm children’s developing lungs  as they could actually cross the blood-brain barrier and permanently damage their developing brains, thus, their futures.

“Air pollution is a major contributing factor in the deaths of around 600,000 children under five every year – and it threatens the lives and futures of millions more every day,” he added. “No society can afford to ignore air pollution,” he said.

NaijaAgroNet reports that these findings came a week ahead of the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP 22) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Marrakesh, Morocco, where UNICEF is calling on world leaders to take urgent action to cut air pollution in their countries.

Further, NaijaAgroNet reports that using satellite imagery, the report further shows that around two billion children live in areas where outdoor air pollution, caused by factors such as vehicle emissions, heavy use of fossil fuels, dust and burning of waste, exceeds minimum air quality guidelines set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

South Asia has the largest number of children living in these areas, at 620 million, with Africa following with 520 million children, and the East Asia and Pacific region with 450 million children living in areas that exceed guideline limits.

Remmy Nweke/ED, Ops

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