Seventeen million babies under the age of one are breathing toxic air, putting their brain development at risk, the UN children’s agency, UNICEF, has warned.
As per reports from UNICEF : Breathing particulate air pollution could damage brain tissue and undermine cognitive development. It is also linked with verbal and non-verbal IQ and memory which reduces test scores, grade point averages & also other neurological behavior problems.
In South Asia, babies are worst affected by more than 12 million living in areas with pollution six times higher than safe levels. Further in East Asia & Pacific – four million babies are at risk.
“As more and more of the world urbanises, and without adequate protection and pollution reduction measures, more children will be at risk in the years to come,” Unicef said.
It called for wider use of face masks and air filtering systems, and for children not to travel during spikes in pollution.
In Delhi, the blanket of pollution and smog last month prompted a shutdown of all schools, with the chief minister calling it a ‘gas chamber’. Indian and Sri Lankan cricketers vomited on the pitch in Delhi during excessive levels of pollution.
Pollution in Northern China air pollution is estimated to cut life expectancy by 3 years while studies in London show that pollution levels are leading to lower birth rates that cause higher rates of infant mortality and diseases later in life.
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