Air Pollution Affects Children’s Brain Development: UNICEFNorth India is facing major air pollution crisis, where the Air Quality Index on Sunday (November 3) touched 625, which comes under the ‘severe plus’ category

United Nations: UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore has warned that air pollution toxicity can affect children’s brain development and called for urgent action to deal with the crisis gripping India and South Asia. Ms. Fore, who recently visited India, said on Wednesday,

I saw first-hand how children continue to suffer from the dire consequences of air pollution. The air quality was at a crisis level. You could smell the toxic fog even from behind an air filtration mask.

Air pollution affects children most severely and its effects continue all their lives because they have smaller lungs, breathe twice as fast as adults and lack immunities, Ms. Fore said.

Also Read: Air Pollution: What Is Particulate Matter And How Does It Affect The Human Body

She added that air pollution “damages brain tissue and undermines cognitive development in babies and young children, leading to lifelong consequences that can affect their learning outcomes and future potential. There is evidence to suggest that adolescents exposed to higher levels of air pollution are more likely to experience mental health problems. UNICEF is calling for urgent action to address this air quality crisis,” affecting 620 million children in South Asia.

She also expressed the same thoughts when she took to Twitter,

I was just in South Asia where I saw first-hand how children continue to suffer from the dire consequences of air pollution. Children have a right to live in a clean environment and to breathe clean air. We must act now.

Schools were closed in Delhi till Tuesday because of the severe environmental situation caused by post-harvest burning of stubble in neighbouring states. The Air Quality Index (AQI) on Sunday touched 625, considered “severe plus” level.

Also Read: Air Pollution Crisis: Does India Have Enough Air Quality Monitoring Stations?

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