Around 300 million children are currently breathing toxic air. Air is so polluted that the international top limits are exceeded by at least six fold, as reported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in October 2016. An official report describes worldwide issues with air quality.
Outdoor and indoor air pollution are together responsible for one in 10 deaths of children under five years old. There is a direct link to respiratory diseases, as for example pneumonia, which makes poor air quality a one of biggest dangers to children’s health today. The young body is more susceptible for damage by toxic molecules, that easily enter and affect almost all organs, while still in development. Chemicals will also distress the immune system.
The most affected groups live in underdeveloped or industrial regions regions, where treatment is also severely limited by the underdeveloped public health care system. Approximately 620 million children in South Asia, 520 million in Africa and 450 million in East Asia and Pacific have no choice but to breath air polluted by industrial activity, vehicle emissions, dust and burning of waste, in addition to indoor pollution from coal, wood cooking and heating.