Life in the planet has become difficult with increasing pollution. Its not only taking away the lives of plants and animals, but also the innocent children. The childhood which is always memorable and innocent is ending soon for children under 5 years of age due to the increasing pollution.

World Health Organization (WHO) published a report that stated that more than 1 in 4 deaths are attributable to unhealthy environment. Earlier, another report, ‘Inheriting a Sustainable World: Atlas on Children’s Health and the Environment’, stated the common causes of death. It read that children aged 1 month to 5 years died due to diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia. It also read that these can be prevented by reducing the pollution levels.

The current report states that the causes are indoor and outdoor pollution. This includes second-hand smoke, unsafe water, lack of sanitation, and inadequate hygiene. Nearly 1.7 million children under 5 years die per year, say the two new WHO reports.

Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General said, “A polluted environment is a deadly one – particularly for young children”. She also added, “Their developing organs and immune systems, and smaller bodies and airways, make them especially vulnerable to dirty air and water”.

WHO’s official infographics
Source: WHO

The report also put forth a shocking fact. The harmful exposures can start right from the mother’s womb. This increases the risk of premature birth and can also affect the health of the infant. Additionally, when infants and kids under 3 years of age are exposed to indoor and outdoor air pollution, they have an increased risk of pneumonia in childhood. It will also cause a lifelong increased risk of chronic respiratory diseases, such as asthma. Exposure to air pollution may also increase their lifelong risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer.

Under the Sustainable Development Goals, countries are working on targets to guide interventions for children’s environmental health. The goals also include, ending the preventable deaths of newborn and children under five by 2030.

The pollution that human beings cause today is affecting the survivors of the future. It is time to take the call and protect the future generation of the planet.


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