The Hindu Business Line
Air that kills
It’s not just the big cities in India which are choking children with its bad air. The UNICEF report on air pollution throws up distressing facts and figures
To commemorate its 70th year, the UNICEF recently brought out its Clean the Air for Children report. The report assesses the impact of air pollution on children across the world and highlights staggering statistics. The study, based on satellite imagery, claims to be the first of its kind and shows that 300 million children live in areas with extremely toxic levels of pollution — exceeding the internationally prescribed limits by at least six times. In his foreword, Anthony Lake, executive director of UNICEF, says over two billion children are found to be living in areas with pollution levels that exceed the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) minimum air quality requirements. And nearly 6 lakh children under the age of five are estimated to die every year from diseases caused or exacerbated from indoor and outdoor pollution.
India, and particularly capital Delhi, had fared abysmally when it comes to air quality. Over the past couple of months, more so in November, Delhi’s air quality hardly budged from the hazardous zone. However, there are surprises in store in the report when it comes to smaller Indian cities. We compile the report’s findings on India, and how bad air is choking our children. Most victims of air pollution are in the low-and middle-income countries.