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Monday, March 06, 2017

Pollution is now a greater threat than Ebola and HIV, kills 1.7 million children a year - World Health Organisation reveals

Pollution is now a greater threat than Ebola and HIV and is responsible for one in four deaths among children aged under five, the World Health Organisation has warned.
"A polluted environment is a deadly one - particularly for young children," WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said in a statement. "Their developing organs and immune systems, and smaller bodies and airways, make them especially vulnerable to dirty air and water."
Harmful exposures can start in the mother’s womb and increase the risk of premature birth. Additionally, when infants and pre-schoolers are exposed to indoor and outdoor air pollution and second-hand smoke they have an increased risk of pneumonia in childhood, and 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.

Worldwide, more than 1.7 million children’s deaths were attributable to environmental hazards such as air pollution and contaminated water, according to report published on Monday.

The damning new research, which reveals the growing threat posed by global pollution, found that the most common causes of child mortality - diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia - are being exacerbated by pollution.

Maria Neira, a WHO expert on public health, said this was a heavy toll, both in terms of deaths and long-term illness and disease rates. She urged governments to do more to make all places safe for children.

"Investing in the removal of environmental risks to health, such as improving water quality or using cleaner fuels, will result in massive health benefits," she said.

In order to combat the problem, the WHO says that urgent action is required to improve water quality in the developing world, whilst more developed nations must ensure access to more green spaces, especially in densely concentrated urban areas.

Source: TT

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