According to a report from the World Health Organization, every year, environmental pollutants kill an estimated 1.7 million children under the age of 5. This is the equivalent of 1 in 4 children.
Common factors include unsafe water, lack of sanitation, poor hygiene practices, injuries, and indoor and outdoor pollution.
The most common causes of child deaths are diarrhea, malaria and pneumonia, which can be prevented using insecticide-treated bed nets, clean cooking fuels, and improved access to clean water.
Exposed air pollution increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Infants who are exposed to indoor and outdoor air pollution, including secondhand smoke, have an increased risk of chronic respiratory disease that can impact them for the rest of their lives.
John Holloway, a professor at the University of Southampton, reminds us that we all have a responsibility to reduce environmental pollution. Our society needs to monitor pollution and take into account the long-term affects pollution is having on us.