1.7 Million Children Die Each Year from Pollution

The World Health Organization estimates that 1.7 million children under the age of 5 die each year from environmental pollution.

The pollution of our planet does not only have an impact on the environment, it also obviously affects humans and especially children. This is what this recent statement from the World Health Organization (WHO) says, stressing that 1.7 million children under the age of 5 die each year from pollution.

There are many causes. The WHO estimates that 570,000 children die each year from infections linked to the respiratory system, which are directly linked to indoor and outdoor pollution, as well as passive smoking. 361,000 children die before the age of 5 due to illnesses linked to diarrhea, contracted due to poor access to clean water and, in fact, good hygiene. The remaining 600,000 deaths, detailed by WHO, include problems linked to water and air pollution, but also to diseases directly linked to the environment, such as malaria.

Between 11 and 14% of Children Have Asthma

Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General, explains that a polluted environment is deadly, especially for young children. Their developing organs, immune systems, bodies and smaller airways make them much more vulnerable to pollution and polluted water. WHO also highlights the negative consequences of these problems, which have a real impact on the growth of children around the world.

In fact between 11% and 14% of children suffer from asthma, 44% of these cases are linked to pollution. Without forgetting the chemicals present in food, such as pesticides composed of fluoride, lead and mercury, and other toxic substances, like paints containing lead. The growing increase in electronic waste is also alarming WHO.

Invest in a Greener World

Maria Neira, director of the WHO Department of Public Health said that a polluted environment has a very negative impact on the health of our children. Investing in the elimination of environmental risks, by improving water quality or using less polluting fuels, will bring huge health benefits. The world needs better better waste management solutions in order to combat that rampant pollution problem.

The solutions presented by the organization aim to renew urban environments with the improvement of public structures such as hospitals and schools, the increase of green areas and public transport in cities, as well as the phase out of pesticides and chemicals in several household cleaning products.

Can algorithms help fight noise pollution

You will have to train them first.

Scientists want to reduce noise pollution by using algorithms. Through a network involving computers and citizens, they want to identify the sounds that accumulate in New York.

Air conditioning, car horn, street music, sirens: what if we taught computers to recognize the different sounds of noise pollution? This is the objective pursued by Sonyc in New York, a project carried out by a group of scientists.

Their work, presented in the journal Communications of the ACM in February 2019, is based on the use of sensors and a machine listening system. It consists of training algorithms to recognize the sounds of New York City in real time.

A Network of Acoustic Sensors

The tool must therefore be trained to describe precisely what is the origin of the noises that pollute the sound environment of New Yorkers. The sounds will be recorded by the acoustic sensors, which are manufactured using Raspberry Pi nanocomputers and microphones. Each unit costs around 80 dollars to produce.

The inventors of Sonyc also want citizens to participate in the process, by passing noise deemed undesirable to an application (which has not yet been developed). Its users will be able to view data annotated by other people. One of the objectives would also be to be able to alert the authorities through the app.

The result of all these observations could then be presented to the competent authorities, in order to better identify the urban areas subject to certain types of noise pollution, a road axis regularly congested, for example. For the time being, the creators of this system have yet to deploy and test it in real conditions. They hope the results will allow Sonyc to be used across the United States.

And humans are not the only ones to suffer from noise pollution: some animals must adapt as well to continue living in the city.