The knowledge of the fact that air pollution poses an imminent threat to human health is known, however, data published by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in a new report titled, "Air pollution and child health: Prescribing clean air" shows the staggering extent of damage in India.
"The cause for higher pollution of Gurugram and Faridabad could be local or an impact of Delhi", he said.
In the ongoing pollution crisis in the capital, Delhi and NCR recorded an overnight spike in the levels of particulate matter in the air on Tuesday, October 30.
Household air pollution from cooking and ambient air pollution caused more than 50 per cent of acute lower respiratory infections in children under five years of age in low- and middle-income countries, it said.
Air pollution is among the leading threats to child health, accounting for nearly one in 10 deaths in kids under five years of age.
The deaths occurred because of health complications faced by the children due to high indoor and outdoor air pollution. It is for this reason that the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) has ordered that all private cars will be stopped from plying in Delhi if air pollution levels do not improve. Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General has reportedly said that the polluted air is not only ruining the lives of millions of children across the globe while adding that it is inexcusable.
The report also found that 98 percent of all children under five in low and middle income countries are exposed to levels of fine particulate matter, or PM2.5, above World Health Organization air quality guidelines.
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The following revelations were made in a report titled Air Pollution and Child Health.
The report 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.
Because children are in a key developmental stage and because they breathe more rapidly than adults and are closer to the ground, they are particularly vulnerable to these tiny particles. "But there are many straight-forward ways to reduce emissions of unsafe pollutants", Maria Neira, Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health at WHO said.
The UN health body is calling for an acceleration of the switch to clean cooking and heating fuels, and for the promotion of cleaner transportation, lower emissions, and better waste management, among other measures.
The report also urges all countries to work towards WHO's air quality guidelines by implementing policies that will reduce air pollution.
An estimated 91% of the global population is exposed to air pollution, which makes it possibly the biggest environmental health risk.