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Air Pollution A Major Risk For Children: WHO

Measures for reducing the toxic impact of air pollution include moving away from fossil fuels.

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Air pollution
A bus gives off exhaust fumes in Alexandria, Virginia. (Photo by Diaa Bekheet). The World Health Organization reported on Monday Oct. 29, 2018, that more than 90 percent, or nearly 2 billion children under the age of 15, breathe toxic air every day. The WHO says debilitating problems associated with air pollution begin at conception and continue until adolescence. VOA
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The World Health Organization says air pollution kills hundreds of thousands of children every year and puts the physical health and neurological development of hundreds of millions of other youngsters at serious risk. The WHO is issuing a report titled “Air pollution and child health: Prescribing clean air” on the eve of the U.N. agency’s first-ever Global Conference on Air pollution and Health.

The World Health Organization reports more than 90 percent, or nearly 2 billion children under the age of 15, breathe toxic air every day. The WHO says debilitating problems associated with air pollution begin at conception and continue until adolescence.

air pollution
In this Sept. 19, 2018 photo steam and cooling towers of a lignite power plant are reflected in a pond in Peitz, eastern Germany. VOA

The report notes pregnant women exposed to polluted air are likely to give birth prematurely and have low-weight babies. A WHO scientist and expert on air pollution, Marie Noel Brune Drisse, warns that many babies will have neurodevelopment problems, resulting in lower IQs.

“The fact is that air pollution is stunting our brains, even before we are born,” said Drisse. “The fact that it is leading to diseases that we may not be able to see immediately but look at much later in life like adult diseases. Our lung function and our respiratory systems are being altered during our development.”

Drisse says this can lead to chronic respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, as well as certain types of cancers later in life. In 2016, the report estimated that 600,000 children died from acute lower respiratory infections caused by polluted air. It said the heaviest toll is paid by children in low- and middle-income countries. The report found that the highest death rates among children between the ages of 5 and 14 from both ambient and household air pollution occur in the African region.

global warming, air pollution
The sun is seen through evening air pollution in Bangkok, Thailand, Feb. 8, 2018. VOA

The report says switching to clean cooking and heating fuels and technologies could save the lives of many children. It says other measures for reducing the toxic impact of air pollution include moving away from fossil fuels.

Also Read: Ebola Has Reached To A Very Serious Situation In Congo: WHO

The report recommends the use of cleaner, renewable energy sources, less dependence on private cars in favor of public transportation, and better waste management systems. WHO officials say the benefits from implementing such measures will be felt almost immediately. (VOA)

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AIIMS Prepares Research Project on Air Pollution’s Impact on Health

"People with respiratory problems are increasing. Apart from asthma patients, there were fresh cases who visited AIIMS owing to pollution,"

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AIIMS launches research project on air pollution's impact on health.

As the National Capital Region (NCR) battles poor air quality during winter, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has started a research project to study the effects of air pollution on public health.

“Delhi’s air quality deteriorates every year during Diwali owing to multiple reasons like stubble burning and bursting of crackers. However, last year, when the air pollution level escalated, we noticed a surge in patients visiting AIIMS,” Dr Karan Madan, Associate Professor, Department of Pulmonary Medicine and Sleep Disorders, AIIMS, who is part of this research programme, told IANS.

So the country’s premier medical research and referral hospital decided to conduct empirical research on the impact of air pollution on health.

For the study, titled “DAPHNE” (Delhi Air Pollution Health And Effects), AIIMS researchers have developed an air pollution sensor technology.

“This sort of study has not been earlier conducted in India. The device has been developed in a belt format which is very light and it gives clear continuous pollution data. The belt can be wrapped around the waist or on the arms,” Madan said.

air pollution, Pollution, pollutants
In this Sept. 19, 2018 photo steam and cooling towers of a lignite power plant are reflected in a pond in Peitz, eastern Germany. VOA

He explained that the device is wireless and directly sends data to a monitoring system through a Global Positioning System (GPS). AIIMS is primarily focusing on children suffering from pulmonary diseases like asthma, bronchitis and other breathing troubles — as well as pregnant women.

The device, which is to be worn by children suffering from asthma or bronchitis, will give an idea of the exposure level of air pollution when one is travelling in the school bus, at home, when in school, or outdoors while playing.

“On pregnant women, we are trying to see how pollution might affect the unborn child. We are also trying to figure out the birth rate issue from this study owing to poor air quality,” Madan noted.

Funded by the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, and Medical Research Council, Britain, the project is a collaborative effort of the the two nations.

In India, apart from AIIMS, Sri Ramachandra University, Chennai, IIT Delhi and GTB Hospital are also associated with the research.

India, air pollution, WHO, diwali, Pollution, Delhi, egypt, air quality
A man walks in front of the India Gate shrouded in smog in New Delhi, India. VOA

“While the data on asthma in children will be compiled at AIIMS, GTB Hospital will be following the cases of pregnant women,” Madan said.

The research process, initiated last year, began on a pilot basis two months ago. Dr Madan stated that around 10 children have been given this belt across Delhi NCR.

“So far, the project is going good and the readings have come accurate. The study will conclude next year and the report will be released,” he added.

Also Read- Actress Alia Bhatt Wants People To Wait For Her Marriage

Talking about the rise in health hazards among residents in the National Capital Region and its surrounding areas, Madan said that AIIMS has witnessed an increase of 15-20 per cent in the number of patients with cases of respiratory problems like coughing, heavy breathing, asthma symptoms, and burning sensation in throat and nose.

“People with respiratory problems are increasing. Apart from asthma patients, there were fresh cases who visited AIIMS owing to pollution,” he stated. (IANS)