New York, November 6: Today’s babies are tomorrow’s youth and driving force of society. But pollution has started causing such a massive, worldwide effect that almost 17 million babies under the age of one are vulnerable to pollution. More horrifying fact is pollution can harm damage their developing brains along with developing lungs. It is definitely high time to get united against pollution.
Ultrafine pollution particles are so small that they can enter the bloodstream, travel to the brain, and damage the blood-brain barrier, which can cause neuroinflammation. Other types of pollution particles, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, can damage areas in the brain that are critical in helping neurons communicate, the foundation for children’s learning and development. A young child’s brain is especially vulnerable because it can be damaged by a smaller dosage of toxic chemicals, compared to an adult’s brain. Children are also highly vulnerable to air pollution because they breathe more rapidly
South Asia has the largest proportion of babies living in the worst-affected areas, with 12.2 million babies residing where outdoor air pollution exceeds six times international limits set by the World Health Organization. The East Asia and Pacific region is home to some 4.3 million babies living in areas that exceed six times the limit.
While obviously reducing air pollution can be the ultimate step, reducing children’s exposure to pollutants by making it feasible for children to travel during times of the day, improving children’s overall health to improve their resilience can be temporary solutions to prevent children from a broken future.