Nowadays we breathe in pollutants as we breathe in the air. We are exposed to the pollutants like tobacco smoke and other hazardous elements present in the air and so are the children around us. This could have a long-term effect on their health. Especially the intrauterine, perinatal and neonatal babies, who are more receptive to diseases due to their weak immune system.
Children are more susceptible than adults to diseases caused by air pollution as they breathe more air than adults.
The environment may have enormous effects on the health of an infant from the conception period till the delivery. The embryo undergoes expeditious growth and organ development, while the maternal environment helps direct these processes. The condition in which the babies are born also depends on the environment, which can cause defects including premature birth. It might result in premature death of babies as well.
According to a report by UNICEF, nearly 6,00,000 children below the age of 5-year die because of the diseases due to the pollution. Also, about 3oo million live in areas with toxic air that can be deadly.
The question of protecting the children, especially infants from air pollution is of vital importance. Several researchers and doctors have suggested measures to protect children from air pollution. The measures can reduce the threat to babies’ lives; the future of whom is in danger.
UNICEF suggests four measures to the world authorities for reducing pollution. By decreasing the fossil fuel combustion and investing in energy efficiency and renewable resources. To conduct more immunisation information programs to make people aware of the possible outcome of pneumonia, a killer disease for under children. This will improve their ability to recuperate from diseases and conditions connected to air pollution. To keep schools away from the industrial areas that produce harmful gases and chemicals risking the health of the children and others. Better monitoring of the pollution can also help in reducing the air pollution risks.
As the Executive Director, Anthony Lake said, “Pollutants don’t harm children’s developing lungs- they can cross the blood-brain barrier and permanently damage their developing brains- and thus, their futures.”
As individuals, there are too little solutions against air pollution, but there are some that we can try. Some of the measures we can undertake to safeguard the health of the children include providing them air masks to protect them from airborne detrimental pollutants. People can buy respirator masks such as N95 and N99, which are approved by the US government’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. We can also invest in air purifiers that reduce allergens and gases. Also, there are mobile applications to check the air quality.
Delhi has become one of the major cities facing the problem of air pollution. The World Health Organisation has declared Delhi as one of the most polluted cities in 2014. After Diwali, in late October, people experienced the presence of harmful pollutants in the city air visible enough for the whole world to see.