Stockholm, Sweden, October 31, 2016 – Urgent action needs to be taken now across the world to reduce the impact of air pollution on the lives of children, said Swedish business leader Bengt Rittri, founder and CEO of Blueair, a global leader in indoor air purification technology. The call came in response to a new report issued Monday by UNICEF, which called on world leaders to reduce the air pollution the organization says impacts around two billion children globally.
“World leader need to take urgent action to cut air pollution in their countries because it is totally unacceptable that it contributes to not only the deaths of 600,000 children but also threatens the long-term health and futures of millions more,” said Bengt. He noted that outdoor and indoor air pollution are two sides of the same coin.
In a report titled ‘Clean the air for children’ UNICEF said almost one in seven of the world’s children, 300 million, live in areas with the most toxic levels of outdoor air pollution – six or more times higher than international guidelines set by the World Health Organization.
UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said pollutants don’t only harm children’s developing lungs – they can actually cross the blood-brain barrier and permanently damage their developing brains – and, thus, their futures. According to UNICEF, outdoor and indoor air pollution are together directly linked with pneumonia and other respiratory diseases that account for almost one in 10 under-five deaths, making air pollution one of the leading dangers to children’s health.
“No society can afford to ignore air pollution,” Mr. Lake said.
The UNICEF Clear the Air for Children study uses satellite imagery to show for the first time how many children are exposed to outdoor pollution. The satellite imagery confirms that around 2 billion children live in areas where outdoor air pollution, caused by factors such as vehicle emissions, heavy use of fossil fuels, dust and burning of waste, exceeds WHO’s minimum air quality guidelines.
Mr. Rittri said he firmly endorsed UNICEF recommendations such as spurring governments to cut back on fossil fuels, invest in renewable energy resource, improve monitoring and forecasting of air pollution, and increase children’s access to healthcare.
“Blueair was founded 20 years ago with the ethos that everyone has the right to breathe clean air. Children are our future and we must do all in our power to protect them,” Bengt said.
Founded in 1996 in Stockholm, Sweden, Blueair innovates, manufactures and commercializes award-winning indoor air purifying technologies and products for consumers and businesses. Available in over 60 markets worldwide, Blueair air purifiers are designed to enhance user health and wellbeing by removing airborne allergens, asthma triggers, viruses, bacteria and other pollutants in home, work and leisure environments. www.blueair.com