Over five million children die annually across the world for reasons of unhealthy environment. These figures were cited at a news conference in RIA Novosti by Mikko Vienonen, a special envoy of the WHO director-general to Russia.
According to him, this is why a healthy living environment for children has been chosen as the watchword for the World Health Day on April 7.
Vienonen emphasised that adverse environmental factors are responsible for up to one-third of the entire global disease burden. What is more, it is estimated that children aged up to 5 suffer from this in 40 per cent of cases.
According to WHO, in the European region, the children risk exposure to over 15,000 harmful environmental factors. Among these are water pollution, road accidents, global climatic change, contaminated food and water, and radiation. These risks, acting together, cause such negative effects as asthma, nervous disturbances, and malignant growths. Particularly dangerous for the child population are allergy and asthma, said the WHO envoy. According to him, over the past decade the occurrence of asthma symptoms among children in the majority of European countries has more than doubled.
In Russia, between 1997-2001, the number of asthma cases likewise increased by 30 per cent, noted Vienonen. He also expressed concern over the quality of drinking water in the country.
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