The statistics revealed by UNICEF on children breathing toxic air are indeed shocking. Around 300 million children around the world are getting affected by breathing air having particulate matter of size 2.5 and 10 microns. Among these lines 220 millions kids are living in South Asian countries only, where pollution level is six times higher than the safe limits provided by WHO. This indicates the gravity of the air pollution. ‘As children are young their lungs also will be in tender stage, which easily get affected by the increasing levels of the pollution’, experts say. Early exposure to toxic air will have lifelong consequences resulting in asthma, pneumonia, lung cancer besides increasing the risk of stroke and heart failure, when these particles enter the blood stream through lungs. Every year about 7 million people, including 6 lakh children below the age of 5 years are dying due to air pollution. Burning wood, waste, dried leaves, cheap quality combustion oils, kerosene, automobile pollution, dust from construction activities, which are the major sources of air pollution, are the main reasons for these deaths. Unless we realize this and start taking its control measures its impact on future generations will be very severe.
Dr S V N Vijayendra, Mysuru