Delhi-NCR air pollution: Long-term effects on kids

ByTapatrisha Das
Nov 04, 2022 03:02 PM IST

From affecting lung growth to the overall immunity of the body, here are a few ways by which the air pollution can have long-term effects on kids.

The Delhi-NCR region has started to suffer with the air pollution problems. Every year, with the onset of the winter season, the toxic smog surrounds the capital and the NCR region which is replete with carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides and other matter. The government has already issued notice for schools to close and for fifty percent employee attendance in government offices as steps for the air pollution. The pollution has several levels of affecting the human body. While some show impact in short term, some take long years to show up, and impact the body adversely. Children are affected more adversely on a daily basis, as they breathe in the toxic air. “Particles of a diameter of 10 microns or less are included in the PM10 measurement, which is typically used to assess the quality of the air. Due to their capacity to enter the lower parts of the respiratory system, these particles are thought to be the cause of harmful health effects,” said Dr. Ashutosh Niranjan M.B.B.S, M.S. (General Surgery), Dean of Noida International Institute of Medical Sciences.

Delhi-NCR air pollution: Long-term effects on kids(Mohd Zakir/ HT file photo)
Delhi-NCR air pollution: Long-term effects on kids(Mohd Zakir/ HT file photo)

Speaking to HT Lifestyle, Dr Vikas Maurya - Director & HOD - Pulmonology, Fortis Hospital Shalimar Bagh added, “As per WHO, more than 90% of the world's children breathe toxic air every day which is a big statement. It shows that children under the age of 15 years breathe air that is so polluted that it puts their health and development at serious risk and many of them die as well.” He further shared insights on how air pollution can have long term effect on kids:

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Lung growth: As kids are in their developing stage, pollution can affect their lung growth at an early stage and as their age increases, they become more prone to diseases like asthma. In their later stages, they can also have respiratory tract infections, lower respiratory tract infections, upper respiratory tract infections, and pneumonia as well.

Lung cancer: Lung cancer can also be seen in these children who are persistently exposed to pollution, pollutants, and harmful gases.

Cardiovascular effects: It has also been found that apart from organs like lungs, it can also have cardiovascular effects, such as high blood pressure or other heart-related ailments.

Immunity: Air pollution can also affect their immune system. Hence, they become prone to more infections and more immunity-related issues as they grow up.

Dr Ashutosh Niranjan added, “Early learning, attention, and memory are significantly impacted because pollution has a negative impact on a child's health in those early years. This causes a rise in school absences, low academic performance, and eventually stunts social and economic development.”


    Tapatrisha is Content Producer with Hindustan Times. She covers stories related to health, relationships, and fashion.

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