Air Pollution is Hurting Children

One of the latest studies published on pollution shows that it has an alarming negative effect on our cognitive abilities. However, this is not the only bad news for people living in towns and cities with high pollution.

Doctors continue to treat an increasing number of children who are choking and hav e difficulty breathing because of air pollution. In fact, long-term exposure to diesel fumes can be carcinogenic, especially for children. Moreover, air pollution has been known to cause asthma in otherwise healthy children, and to stunt their lung growth by up to 10%.

There are some preventative measures to take if you are living in a highly polluted area.

  • Stay away from busy roads.
  • Avoid heavy cardiovascular exercise.
  • Keep children inside to play.
  • Avoid driving, if you can. Not only will you contribute to pollution, you will also be as exposed to it as if you were walking or cycling.

However, ordinary people shouldn’t have to change the way they live because of pollution. Instead, governments should take action in solving this problem. There are many things that can be done to improve this situation.

  • Introduce clean air zones to protect people in some of the worst polluted areas.
  • Rely less on diesel cars, because diesel fuel is one of the biggest sources of pollution.
  • Hold companies that produce diesel cars responsible. This is why many health professionals protest against VW, the company that sells the most diesel cars in the UK.
  • Provide better infrastructure in cities for active travel. This way, people will choose to walk, bike, or use a reliable public transport instead of using cars.

There is no doubt that there is a strong link between air pollution and ill health. The time to act is now if we want to prevent irreversible damage to future generations.

Vocabulary

  1. Alarming – worrying or disturbing
  2. Cognitive – relating to mental activities
  3. Choke – have severe difficulty in breathing
  4. Exposure – the state of experiencing something or being affected by something
  5. Carcinogenic – having the potential to cause cancer
  6. Stunt – prevent from growing or developing properly
  7. Preventative – designed to keep something undesirable such as illness or harm from occurring
  8. Rely – depend on; count on
  9. Fuel – material such as coal, gas, or oil that is burned to produce heat or power
  10. Irreversible – irreparable, not able to be undone

Questions for Discussion

  1. What are some of the negative health effects cause by pollution?
  2. How do you think governments should deal with pollution?
  3. How do you think companies that cause the most pollution should compensate?

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