July 8, 2019


Poor air makes children sick worldwide The UN Children’s Fund Unicef ​​warns of the consequences of air pollution. In Europe alone, 120 million children would inhale many harmful substances.

Exhaust fumes from cars and industry, toxic smoke from tons of burning garbage, particulate matter from coal and wood combustion: all this pollutes the air worldwide – and has consequences for the health of children.

Around 300 million children need to breathe polluted air every day , according to a report by the United Nations Children’s Fund ( Unicef ). The high concentration of toxins puts them at an increased risk of respiratory diseases and even brain damage. “Every year, nearly 600,000 children under the age of five die as a result of illnesses caused or exacerbated by bad indoor and outdoor air,” the report said . He was introduced on Monday in New York. Primarily these are solids such as particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, ozone and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

Air pollution children life
Air pollution children life

However, bad air is not a direct cause of death. Unicef ​​has projected for its report how many children die each year from the effects of diseases related to polluted air, including primarily pneumonia, as well as bronchitis or asthma. This connection means that where the air is particularly heavily polluted, such diseases are statistically more common. How many children would be sick with non-polluted air, but can be difficult to determine. Accordingly, such statistics are to be interpreted with caution.

Children in Asia and Africa are hardest hit

But one thing is certain: every seventh child in the world inhales air whose pollution level exceeds international limits by at least six times, Unicef ​​writes. An estimated two billion children live in areas where the air is worse than recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) . Children are most affected in the fast-growing cities of South and East Asia and Africa. Unicef ​​wants to draw attention to this a week before the start of the World Climate Change Conference in Marrakech.

In addition, bad air is especially dangerous for children. They breathe twice as fast as adults and breathe more air relative to their body weight, the report said. In addition, the long-term development of children is impaired. “No society can afford to ignore air pollution ,” UNICEF director Anthony Lake said.