The city pollution hits the most vulnerable, our children

“Soot from diesel vehicles is among the big contributors to ill health and global warming,” commented Helena Molin Valdés, head of the United Nations’ climate and clean air coalition, stating that more than nine out of 10 people around the globe live where air pollution exceeds World Health Organisation safety limits.

The city pollution hits the most vulnerable, our children

Air pollution is linked to diseases and infections that kill around 600,000 children under five each year 

Under-five deaths linked to air pollution, 000s
Household pollution
Outdoor pollution

South-east Asia
Eastern Mediterranean
Western Pacific

Guardian graphic | Source: WHO, 2012

Air pollution is world’s single biggest environmental health risk, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), and is getting worse, with levels of toxic air rising 8% in the last five years. How to live and rise children under such circumstances? 
  • First of all using whatever it takes to minimize the exposure and escape at least temporary polluted areas. As full time parents we know it is almost impossible during working week and only possible during weekends. We are lucky to have family in the country so we can spend time there. 
  • Avoid traveling by car in peak times. Unfortunately the kindergarten and shops which we are visiting the most, are in very frequented areas and there is no escape from the daily traffic jam. That means my loved ones are enjoying the daily dose of NOx not only during week days but also to and from the occasional healthy weekend in the country. Visionaries like Elon Musk are trying to devise a solution but for many, including me, it is unattainable. Also you have eventually to exit the Tesla :-) The tunnel solution to the traffic jam is also neat, but far fetched. 
  • Avoid outdoor activity. That's easier said than done. Keeping children locked up in the flat for days is a torture for the whole family. Answering never ending questions why they can't but the neighbor kids can go out is exhausting.
  • While indoors use some kind of air scrubber, but avoid opening the the hallway or room doors. The efficiency of the air scrubber is limited.The air will be stinky but at least not lethal.
  • We will have to get used to wear some protection for our breathing ways in the end. Newer tried but my children are having difficulty with properly wearing a simple cap, not to imagine some surgical mask.