Pollution – Poor Quality Air
Updated: Nov 23, 2018
More than 90 per cent of children breathe toxic air every day, putting health and development at serious risk.
Much of this article was researched and composed by the ‘World Health Organisation’ (WHO)
Over 90 per cent of all children - roughly 1.8 billion - live in places where pollution exceeds WHO guidelines. Ambient air pollution caused roughly 4.2 million premature deaths in 2016, while 600,000 children died from acute lower respiratory infections due to dirty air.
The problem is most pronounced in low and middle income countries, where 98 per cent of children under five breathe toxic air every day. The consequences are life-long; exposure to pollution is linked to asthma, childhood cancer and reduced neurodevelopment and cognitive ability.
Those who live in highly polluted areas at a young age - when their lungs, organs and brains are still maturing - may also be at a greater risk of developing chronic diseases, including obesity, later in life.
But the impacts of pollution start before birth, with women who are exposed during pregnancies more likely to have a premature birth or low-weight baby.
"We want to highlight child mortality and the whole range of diseases linked to pollution exposure," said Dr Marie Noel Brune Drisse, scientist and expert on air pollution at the ‘World Health Organisation’. "Stunting and development are affecting children before they are even born. The impacts continue really from conception to adolescence."
"Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of pollution, but they are politically powerless and depend on us to protect them," she added.
The latest World Health Organisation figures show that pollution causes nearly 7 million deaths each year. But while adults are affected by toxic air, children are far more vulnerable as they breathe more rapidly - and therefore absorb more pollution.
Pollutants also reach peak concentrations closer to the ground, impacting children greatest.
"Imagine that our children will have less cognitive development and therefore a lower IQ", said Dr Maria Neira, Director of the Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health at WHO. "We are talking about putting at risk a whole generations' IQ. This is not only new but very worrying."
While pollution is a global problem, it is most pronounced in low and middle income countries. In Africa, 184 children per 100,000 died from causes attributable to household and ambient pollution in 2016. In Europe’s high income countries, that figure was just 0.3.
This is largely due to a widespread dependence on dirty fuels for cooking, heating and lighting in developing countries, which can result in indoor concentrations of pollutants.
Roughly three billion people worldwide, including 83 per cent of Africa and 59 per cent of South East Asia, still rely on these fuels - including wood and kerosene. As babies and toddlers spend the majority of their time at home, they are often exposed to a higher level of pollution than those over five.
"Low and middle income countries are the ones that suffer most from critical pollution," said Dr Sophie Gumy, scientist and expert on air pollution at WHO. "They also have the highest numbers of children. Over 50 per cent of the worlds pollution rely on polluted energy at home - we need to make sure that they have access to clean energy."
While the report's authors said parents could mitigate some of the impact on their children - by keeping them away from household pollutants, such as wood burners, and above toxic air at a ground level - they said this was not enough.
Published recently, the report coincides with the inaugural Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health in Geneva, where world leaders will meet to discuss strategies to tackle toxic pollution. This includes reducing reliance on cars, improving waste mangement systems and accelerating the move to clean energy supplies.
“Polluted air is poisoning millions of children and ruining their lives,” says Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organisation. “This is inexcusable. Every child should be able to breathe clean air so they can grow and fulfil their full potential.”
Unrelated Facts, possible Solutions & Statistics regarding Plant-life ++
Trees absorb carbon dioxide and potentially harmful gasses, such as sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, from the air and release oxygen. One large tree can supply a day's supply of oxygen for four people. One large tree can absorb up to 100 gallons of water out of the ground and discharge it into the air in a day.
Carbon dioxide is one of the most harmful greenhouse gasses and filtering carbon dioxide out of the air is what Trees do best.
It costs 38 trillion dollars to create Oxygen for 6 months for all human beings on Earth.
Trees do it for FREE.
Important relationship between Green Areas, Woods, Forests and Air
( Fact - we need oxygen from all Plant-life to survive and for us all to
constantly remain focussed).
According to a recent study the more Trees we're surrounded by, the lower our stress levels.
The more Plants and Trees that are planted in high populated areas the better it is for our healthy existence.
Summary – Remove all Fossil Fuel Discharge Sources, or at least drastically reduce the amount. Ban the lighting of all external Fires. Plant many thousands of Trees and plants to absorb harmful gases from our Environment and maintain Land & Woodland management appropriately. (It is a common practice for people to keep appropriate plants in their homes for the many benefits to our breathable air).
The livestock industry creates almost a fifth of all greenhouse gases - Cut down your serving size of meat dishes / Eliminate all red meat. / Build meals around vegetables and/or fruit,