Environmental pollution kills 1.7 million children each year - WHO
Top 5 causes of death in children under 5 years linked to the environment
- 570 000 children under 5 years die from respiratory infections, such as pneumonia, attributable to indoor and outdoor air pollution, and second-hand smoke.
- 361 000 children under 5 years die due to diarrhoea, as a result of poor access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene.
- 270 000 children die during their first month of life from conditions, including prematurity, which could be prevented through access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene in health facilities as well as reducing air pollution.
- 200 000 deaths of children under 5 years from malaria could be prevented through environmental actions, such as reducing breeding sites of mosquitoes or covering drinking-water storage.
- 200 000 children under 5 years die from unintentional injuries attributable to the environment, such as poisoning, falls, and drowning.
Ongoing and emerging environmental threats to children’s health
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Making all places safe for children
- Housing: Ensure clean fuel for heating and cooking, no mould or pests, and remove unsafe building materials and lead paint.
- Schools: Provide safe sanitation and hygiene, free of noise, pollution, and promote good nutrition.
- Health facilities: Ensure safe water, sanitation and hygiene, and reliable electricity.
- Urban planning: Create more green spaces, safe walking and cycling paths.
- Transport: Reduce emissions and increase public transport.
- Agriculture: Reduce the use of hazardous pesticides and no child labour.
- Industry: Manage hazardous waste and reduce the use of harmful chemicals.
- Health sector: Monitor health outcomes and educate about environmental health effects and prevention.
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