World Climate

Nearly 2,000 Children Die Daily from Air Pollution: Report Demands Urgent Action

A new report by the Health Effects Institute (HEI) and UNICEF unveils a terrifying statistic: nearly 2,000 children under five die every day due to air pollution, the Guardian published in an article yesterday.

This makes air pollution the second biggest killer of young children globally, surpassing issues like poor sanitation and unclean water, the report highlighted.

The study reveals air pollution is responsible for over 8 million deaths annually, for both children and adults. Dirty air is now the second largest cause of death worldwide, following high blood pressure, and even surpassing tobacco use.

The report highlights a disturbing trend: children in low and middle-income countries suffer the brunt of the impact.  Air pollution-related deaths in children under five are 100 times higher in most of Africa compared to high-income nations.

The report urges immediate action from governments and businesses. UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Kitty van der Heijden emphasizes, “Our inaction is having a profound impact on the next generation… The global urgency is undeniable.”

The climate crisis is further worsening air quality. Droughts, wildfires, and dust storms contribute significantly to air pollution.  Higher temperatures also exacerbate the issue, leading to increased ozone levels, another harmful gas.

The study emphasizes that tackling air pollution can benefit both health and climate.  Switching to clean cooking fuels, like solar cookstoves, can significantly reduce air pollution from dirty fuels like coal and biomass. 

The report calls for global investment to address this neglected issue.  The International Energy Agency estimates $4 billion annually is needed to provide clean cooking solutions in sub-Saharan Africa alone.

Fatih Birol, head of the IEA, emphasizes the need for a global response, highlighting the impact on health, climate, economies, and gender equality.  “This is an issue that has been ignored for too long,” he said. 

Related Articles

Back to top button