Air pollution is an invisible killer. It is also a dangerous threat to children’s health and growth. Yet the unhealthy air is hard to see and its slow destruction on children’s health are hardly alerted.
Globally, 93% of all children under 15 years of age breathe air that is so polluted every day it puts their health and development at serious risk, according to a report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2016.
WHO also estimates 600,000 children died from acute lower respiratory infections caused by polluted air. Other key findings of the report state that air pollution is one of the leading threats to child health, accounting for almost 1 in 10 deaths in under five years of age.
Children are uniquely vulnerable to the damaging health effects of air pollution since they breathe more rapidly than adults, that means they absorb more pollutants. The height of a kid is closer to the ground where some pollutants reach peak concentrations.
Air pollution can trigger asthma and damage our lungs. While children are still developing, exposure to dirty air also harms their brain development, leading to cognitive and motor impairments. It also put them at higher risk for chronic disease such as cardiovascular disease later in life.
Indeed, health threats and premature death correlated with air pollution are avoidable if prohibition and pollution control takes place. Clean Air Network implements an education program “Let Our Children Breathe” focusing on roadside pollution issues and the air quality of the school environment in Sham Shui Po district. The main goal of this program is to improve the air that children are breathing and keep them staying healthy.
Photo/ Tin Yau Lung