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UNICEF: One in Seven of the World’s Children Breathe Extremely Toxic Air, 600k Die Annually

Air pollution is a major contributing factor in the deaths of around 600,000 children under five every year

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FILE - Haze hangs over Mexico City. Some two billion children live in regions where outdoor air pollution exceeds WHO's minimum air quality guidelines. VOA
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October 31, 2016: One in seven of the world’s children is exposed to pollution levels six or more times higher than international standards set by the World Health Organization, according to a new report by UNICEF. The report was released a week ahead of the United Nations Climate Change conference in Marrakech.

“Air pollution is a major contributing factor in the deaths of around 600,000 children under five every year,” says UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake, “and it threatens the lives and futures of millions more every day.”

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Some two billion children live in regions where outdoor air pollution exceeds WHO’s minimum air quality guidelines, with 620 million of those children living in South Asia, followed by 520 million children in Africa, and 450 million children in the East Asia and Pacific region.

Around 2 billion children live in areas where outdoor air pollution exceeds international limits. VOA
Around 2 billion children live in areas where outdoor air pollution exceeds international limits. VOA

UNICEF says young children are particularly susceptible to indoor and outdoor air pollution because their lungs, brains and immune systems are still developing and their respiratory tracts are more permeable.

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UNICEF says it will ask the countries attending the climate change conference to take “four urgent steps” to protect children from air pollution:

Those steps are:

1. adopt measures to reduce pollution;

2. increase children’s access to healthcare;

3. minimize children’s exposure to pollution; and

4. establish better monitoring of air pollution.

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Lake said “We protect our children when we protect the quality of our air. Both are central to our future.” (VOA)

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  • Shivani Vohra

    The Earth becoming a pool of toxic air, and it has become really important to find ways to cope with this problem otherwise Global warming will keep increasing.

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WHO: Nearly 1 Billion People Risk Hearing Loss by 2050

Problems resulting from hearing loss are expected to rise because of a growing and aging population - a population that is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050

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An 85-year-old Nepalese man is seen fitted with a hearing aid, in Kathmandu, Nepal, April 12, 2017. VOA

On the occasion of World Hearing Day, Saturday, the World Health Organization (WHO) is warning one in 10 people globally, or more than 900 million, are at risk of disabling hearing loss by 2050 unless preventive action is taken now.

The World Health Organization reports 466 million people around the world currently suffer from disabling hearing loss. The annual cost to countries in direct health services and lost productivity resulting from this disability is estimated at $750 billion.

Problems resulting from hearing loss are expected to rise because of a growing and aging population – a population that is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050.

ALSO READ: Heart Surgery In Infants May Cause Deafness

Shelly Chadha, a technical officer in the WHO’s Department of Prevention of Deafness and Hearing Loss, says the rise in the aging population does not mean that an increase in hearing loss is inevitable. She says there are many factors besides aging that affect hearing.

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In cases where hearing loss is unavoidable, the WHO says people can be helped through technologies such as hearing aids and surgically implanted electronic cochlear implants. Pexels

“These may be factors such as infectious diseases, which we may encounter in childhood – rubella or mumps, meningitis or ear infections. There may be factors such as exposure to loud sounds, to loud music or noise at workplaces. Many of these causes are preventable, and by addressing them, we can reduce or minimize the risk of hearing loss,” Chadha said.

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The WHO reports about 60 percent of hearing loss in children can be prevented. Measures include immunizing children against infectious diseases, screening and treating chronic ear infections, avoiding the use of drugs harmful to hearing, and controlling exposure to loud sounds and music.

It says these devices are of great benefit to the hard-of-hearing because they make it possible for them to better communicate and socialize with others. (VOA)