In India, out of 1 crore people, approximately 24,815 children died due to environmental reasons in 2012, the report revealed.
New Delhi: Pollution is responsible for one in four deaths among children under five years of age, a new report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed. According to the report, 1.7 million children die every year due to toxic air from indoor and outdoor air pollution, second-hand smoke, unsafe water, lack of sanitation, and inadequate hygiene. In India, out of 1 crore people, approximately 24,815 children died due to environmental reasons in 2012, the report revealed.
The comprehensive report, “Inheriting a Sustainable World: Atlas on Children’s Health and the Environment” reveals that a large portion of the most common causes of death among children aged 1 month to 5 years are diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia. “These are preventable by interventions known to reduce environmental risks, such as access to safe water and clean cooking fuels,” said the report.
However, with only 34 per cent of the population with primary reliance on clean fuels and technologies at the household level available in India, 47.7 children below the age of five mortality died per 1,000 live births in 2015, out of the total population of 13,11,051. 47.9% of children aged 0–59 months are stunted in India and there are only 1.9% of children aged 0–59 months who are overweight. Even as 94% of the population were found using improved drinking-water sources and 40% of the population using improved sanitation facilities in 2015 in India, forty-four per cent of India’s population of 1.3 billion people was seen to be defecating and urinate in open areas, the report said. “A polluted environment is a deadly one — particularly for young children,” says Dr Margaret Chan, WHO director-general. “Their developing organs and immune systems, and smaller bodies and airways, make them especially vulnerable to dirty air and water.” Ironically, the report found 5,70,000 children under five-years-old die each year from respiratory infections.