Recently WHO conducted a conference on air pollution and health which concluded with data being provided about the number of deaths in India of children under five years of age owing to pollution caused by PM 2.5 (fine particulate matter).
As per the report, around one lakh premature children have not survived in 2016 due to the toxic air in India.
In the report, titled ‘Air Pollution and Child Health: Prescribing Clean Air’, 600,000 children under 15 years of age have died in 2016 due to the joint effects of ambient and household air pollution.
“Globally, 93 per cent of the world’s children under 18 years of age are exposed to ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) levels above WHO air quality guidelines, which include the 630 million children under 5 years of age, and 1.8 billion of children under 15 years,” the World Health Organisation (WHO) study released on Monday said.
According to the study, a total of 101,788 deaths under the age of five includes 54,893 girls and 46,895 boys which were also reported due to joint effects of exposure of children to ambient and household PM 2.5 and burden of disease by the country in 2016.
The report also states that every day around 93% of children under 15 years of age breathes polluted air. In 2016, almost 600,000 children died from acute lower respiratory infections globally.
Speaking to TOI, Dr. Maria Neira, director, department of public health, environmental and social determinants of health at WHO, said, “Air pollution is stunting our children’s brains, affecting their health in more ways than we suspected.”
The report also states that the pregnant women who are exposed to polluted air are more likely to give birth prematurely, which leads to low birth-weight children.