One in eight babies in the world suffers from air pollution – UNICEF

Nearly 17 million babies around the world are forced to breathe toxic air, which can permanently damage their developing brains. In general, there are 136 million children under age of one in the world, that means contaminated air is threatening one in eight babies worldwide.

According to UNICEF, 12.2 million of these young children live in South Asia. Another 4.3 million affected infants live in East Asia and the Pacific in conditions where air pollution exceeds the norm six times.

“Not only do pollutants harm babies’ developing lungs – they can permanently damage their developing brains – and, thus, their futures,” said UNICEF executive director Anthony Lake.

The fund’s report has prompted calls for parents to take all appropriate measures to ensure that the child is protected against contaminated air, and also urges the authorities to invest in clean renewable energy sources. The World Health Organization recommends that the level of air pollution should not exceed 20 micrograms per cubic meter.

In the end of November, UNICEF also published a report, which stated that according to recent analysis, around 180 million children in 37 countries around the world now are more likely to live in poverty, be without a school or die as a result of violence than it was 20 years ago.

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