A new report from UNICEF says staggering two billion children in the world are breathing toxic air, risking serious health effects including damage to their lungs, brains and other organs, Unicef has said.
The reports says most of the 2 billion children live in Northern India and neighbouring countries.
A new report by the organisation said 300 million children are exposed to pollution levels more than six times higher than standards set by the World Health Organisation, including 220 million in South Asia.
New Delhi’s air pollution, among the world’s worst, spikes every winter because of the season’s weak winds and countless rubbish fires lit to help people stay warm.
Last week, the city launched a smartphone application called ” Change the Air” inviting residents to send photos and complaints about illegal pollution sources, from burning of leaves and garbage in public parks to construction crews working without dust control measures.
Another 520 million children are breathing toxic air in Africa, and 450 million in East Asia, mainly China, according to the report.
It combined satellite images of pollution and ground data with demographic patterns to discover which populations fell into the highest risk areas.
Children face much higher health risks from air pollution than adults: they breathe twice as quickly, taking in more air in relation to their body weight, while their brains and immune systems are still developing and vulnerable.
Unicef executive director Anthony Lake said the impact is shocking, with 600,000 children younger than five across the world dying every year from air pollution-related diseases.