Air Pollution

Children under 15 at serious risk from polluted air: WHOIOCR


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Details of WHO Report

Mains level: Impact of Air Pollution on Child Health


WHO report on Air Pollution and Child Health

  1. Every day about 93% of the world’s children under the age of 15 (1.8 billion children) breathe polluted air that puts their health and development at serious risk, the WHO said in a new report.
  2. It attributed deaths of about 600,000 children under 15 years of age in 2016 to the joint effects of ambient and household air pollution.
  3. It reveals that when pregnant women are exposed to polluted air, they are more likely to give birth prematurely, and have small, low birth-weight children.
  4. Air pollution also impacts neurodevelopment and cognitive ability and can trigger asthma, and childhood cancer.
  5. Children exposed to high levels of air pollution may be at greater risk for chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease later in life.
  6. The report was published on WHO’s first ever global conference on Air Pollution and Health.

What makes children more Vulnerable?

  1. One reason why children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of air pollution is that they breathe more rapidly than adults and so absorb more pollutants.
  2. They also live closer to the ground, where some pollutants reach peak concentrations at a time when their brains and bodies are still developing.
  3. In addition, newborns and small children are often at home.
  4. If the family is burning fuels like wood and kerosene for cooking, heating and lighting, they would be exposed to higher levels of pollution.

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