300 million children breathing highly toxic air
SOME 300 million children live with outdoor air so polluted it can cause serious physical damage, including harming their developing brains, the United Nations said in a study released yesterday.
Nearly one child in seven around the globe breathes outdoor air that is at least six times dirtier than international guidelines, according to the study by the UN Children’s Fund, which called air pollution a leading factor in child mortality.
UNICEF published the study a week before the annual UN climatechange talks, with the upcoming round to be hosted by Morocco on November 7-18.
The agency, which promotes the rights and well-being of children, is pushing for world leaders to take urgent action to reduce air pollution.
UNICEF points to satellite imagery which it says confirms that about two billion children live in areas where outdoor air pollution exceeds minimum air-quality guidelines.
South Asia has the largest number of children living in such areas at 620 million, followed by Africa with 520 million and the East Asia and Pacific region with 450 million.