300 Million Children Is Breathing Pollution Air Six Times Worse Than The Limit
Approximately 2 billion children live in communities where outdoor air pollution exceeds World Health Organization limits, according to a new report by UNICEF, the United Nations children’s aid group. That number includes 300 million children in areas with pollution levels six times higher than international guidelines. The pollution — caused by vehicle emissions, fossil fuels, dust, and burning waste — is a major contributing factor to the deaths of around 600,000 children under the age of five each year, the report warned. In South Asia, 620 million children live in areas with unsafe air pollution levels, followed by Africa with 520 million children, and East Asia and the Pacific region with 450 million children. The report comes just one week before world leaders converge in Marrakesh, Morocco for a United Nations meeting to discuss climate change and other related environmental issues, including air quality.
“Pollutants don’t only harm children’s developing lungs – they can actually cross the blood-brain barrier and permanently damage their developing brains – and, thus, their futures,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “No society can afford to ignore air pollution.”