Friday, 15 December, 2017

South Asia's Children at Risk: Pollution Affects Brain Development, Says UNICEF

An Indian child throws materials into the polluted Yamuna river in New Delhi India An Indian child throws materials into the polluted Yamuna river in New Delhi India
Juana Turner | 08 December, 2017, 01:07

"The brains of babies and young children are constructed by a complex interplay of rapid neural connections that begin before birth", said Pia Rebello Britto, the UNICEF chief of early childhood development.

The report said further research was needed to study the full impact of air pollution on children's developing brains.

The link between air pollution and respiratory diseases is well-established, but the United Nations Children's Fund, in a report on Tuesday, said there is a growing body of scientific research which shows that air pollution can permanently damage a child's brain.

Satellite imagery reveals that South Asia has the largest proportion of babies living in the worst-affected areas, with 12.2 million babies residing where outdoor air pollution exceeds six times worldwide limits set by the World Health Organization.

· Ultrafine pollution particles are so small that they can enter the blood stream, travel to the brain, and damage the blood-brain barrier, which can cause neuro-inflammation.

NEW DELHI | The united Nations has drawn Wednesday to sound the alarm about the dangers posed by air pollution to the developing brains of babies, a scourge that particularly affects the Asian.

He explained that when a child's cognitive development is impaired, it affects not only individual lives but whole families, communities and economies. "Parents must protect children from outdoor pollution and from tobacco smoke, cooking fumes and heating fires at home". It found that pregnant women exposed to air pollution were more likely to give birth to underweight babies.

It also suggests investing in cleaner, renewable sources of energy to replace fossil fuel combustion; provide affordable access to public transport; increase green spaces in urban areas; and provide better waste management options to prevent open burning of harmful chemicals. New Delhi's statistics recorded the air pollution was 16 times more than the national standard and 40 times higher than the prescribed standard by the World Health Organization. The study used satellite images to investigate which regions were worst affected by air pollution - in terms of air pollution's affect on children under one year of age. Breastfeeding and good nutrition to improve the immunity would also contribute towards healthier future for children. Exposure to air pollution during this time can therefore impact development, the report states. The result of same has deteriorated lungs of many children in Delhi and the pollution levels are affecting fetuses too.

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