Kolkata: Children were the worst sufferers of air pollution because of their higher breathing rate, narrower windpipe, still-developing lungs and immune system, said Ray at a recent symposium by the SwitchON Foundation, a Kolkata-based climate advocacy group.
“Air pollution triggers asthma exacerbation in children,” said Arup Haldar, a senior pulmonologist, adding, “As India has the most polluted megacities in the world, we also have the highest number of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and second-highest number of asthma deaths.” Every one in 4 OPD patients across hospitals have respiratory distress and one in every three deaths is due to respiratory diseases, the study claims.
“The fine and ultra-fine particulate matter may directly traverse blood vessels and affect the heart and become a systemic inflammation,” Ray added. “It can cause diabetes and dementia and even hamper neurological development in children. The recent State of Global Air (SOGA) report linked air pollution to even as a cause of neonatal mortality (in terms of causing preterm births and low birth-weight babies).”
Rajiv Khurana, joining the event from The Lung Care Foundation, said: “Before we ask children of today about what their future plans would be, it is our primary responsibility to secure their future by providing them clean air and a healthy environment.... It is time to fight for them and also fight along with them to secure their right to healthy clean air. Every micro action can collectively create a macro impact.”

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