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October 24, 2020

Air pollution affects children’s brain development, Says Unicef Executive Director

Meanwhile, Unicef Executive Director “Henrietta H. 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. She said that, “I saw first-hand how children continue to suffer from the dire consequences of air pollution,” Fore, who recently visited India, asserted on Nov 6.

Further, “The air quality was at a crisis level. You could smell the toxic fog even from behind an air filtration mask,” she assumed. Henrietta H. Fore stated that, “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,”.

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She also stated that it “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. 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 Nov 3 touched 625, considered “severe plus” level, the Unicef’s recent report remarked.

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Despite the same, Henrietta Fore became UNICEF’s seventh Executive Director on 1 January 2018. She has worked to champion economic development, education, health, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in a public service, private sector and non-profit leadership career that spans more than four decades. Although, Air pollution is a mixture of natural and man-made substances in the air we breathe. It is typically separated into two categories: outdoor air pollution and indoor air pollution.

Author: Trilok Singh is with CEO here. MA in Political Science, Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi. Currently Studies Masters in Mass Communication and Journalism at International School of Media and Entertainment Studies (ISOMES).

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