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Home / news / UNICEF: 17 million babies worldwide breathe toxic air affecting their brain development

UNICEF: 17 million babies worldwide breathe toxic air affecting their brain development

According to a new UNICEF paper, nearly 17 million babies across the globe – 12.2 million in South Asia and 4.3 million in the East Asia and Pacific region – live in areas with air pollution six times higher than the World Health Organization’s international limits.

Air pollution, like malnutrition, can influence young children’s development  Tweet This!, by affecting their growing brains in several ways, and these babies breathe toxic air, which could damage brain tissue and undermine cognitive development.

UNICEF proposes specific actions to be taken immediately, to reduce the impact of air pollution on babies’ brain development:

  • Reduce air pollution by:
    • investing in cleaner, renewable energy sources, instead of fossil fuel combustion
    • offering access to affordable public transport
    • creating more green spaces in urban areas
    • improving waste management, to prevent the open burning of harmful chemicals
  • Reduce children’s exposure to air pollution by:
    • enabling children to travel during times of the day with lower air pollution
    • in extreme cases, providing suitably fitting air filtration masks
    • making sure, through smart urban planning, that schools, clinics or hospitals are away from major pollution sources
  • Improve children’s general health to make them more resilient by, for example, preventing and treating pneumonia, and promoting exclusive breastfeeding and good nutrition.
  • Improve our understanding and monitoring of air pollution.

 

References:

This article was compiled using a press release by UNICEF. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses but made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the press release’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original please revert to the link below:

https://www.unicef.org/media/media_101774.html?utm_source=fairchance&utm_medium=referral

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