Africa: Climate Crisis an Ongoing Threat to Child Health


High pollution levels are affecting the very air we breathe. Every day, people are exposed to hazardous toxins and chemicals. But most at risk are children, whose developing bodies are unable to survive the same level of chemical exposure as adults. The latest Child Gauge report investigates the overlooked impact of air pollution on child health.

Adults normally breathe up to 20 times a minute. But every breath can expose you to harmful toxins and chemicals, especially in cities.

About seven million people die each year from air pollution and 93% of children are inhaling hazardous air, it was revealed at the World Health Organisation conference on air pollution and health in 2018.

However, there is still very little research on the impact of air pollution on health in South Africa.

The latest Child Gauge report published on Tuesday by the Children's Institute at the University of Cape Town examines aspects of child and adolescent health. One chapter, written by Hanna-Andrea Rother (University of Cape Town), Sanjay Wijesekera (UNICEF) and Fiona Ward (UNICEF), explores the overlooked impact of pollution on child health.

Non-communicable diseases, such as respiratory diseases, type 2 diabetes and malnutrition are "climate-sensitive" and will only become a...

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