Air pollution is fatal:1.25 lakh children died in 2016

Over 1.25 lakh children in India below the age of five died in 2016 due to the impact of polluted air and almost one in five children who die from toxic air exposure across the world is from India, a new study by the World Health Organisation has said.

The WHO report, titled ‘Air Pollution and Child Health: Prescribing Clean Air’, found that polluted air inside households — generated from burning fossil fuels for cooking, lighting and heating — contributed to the deaths of about 67,000 children below the age of five in India in 2016. The study also said that outdoor air pollution, specifically PM2.5, caused by vehicular and industrial emissions and a host of other factors, accounted for nearly 61,000 deaths among children of that age group in 2016.

The WHO study, which examined the toll on children breathing hazardous levels of both outdoor and household air pollution, focused on dangerous particulate matter with a diameter of smaller than 2.5 microns (PM2.5). These include toxins like sulfates and black carbon, which pose the greatest health risks since they penetrate deep into the lungs or cardiovascular system. 

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