Save the Children
Philippines says children have a right to cleaner air
June 5, 2019
MAKATI CITY – Save the
Children Philippines called for a clean and healthy environment in
schools and communities to protect children from diseases and
premature deaths due to air pollution.
The group raised the issue
at the World Environment Day on June 5, citing around seven million
people die every year across the world due to health problems caused
by air pollution, 600,000 of them are children.
Lawyer Albert Muyot, Chief
Executive Officer of Save the Children Philippines said learners
spend an average of five to eight hours in schools, facing health
risks from air pollution.
As classes opened last
Monday, majority of children will be in schools for five days and
will be exposed to air pollution and other health risks, said Muyot.
“Young learners have
fragile bodies and exposure to tiny, invisible airborne particles
from dirty air pose serious risks to their health,” said Muyot.
Save the Children’s End of
Childhood Report 2019 ranked the Philippines 104th in the 176 list
of best and worst countries to be a child due to high number of
teenage pregnancy, malnutrition and child deaths before reaching
five years old.
The report said
malnutrition among Filipino children remains high at 33.4 percent –
or 3.8m – children under five years not getting enough daily
nutrition. It added that nearly three percent – or 322,000 – of
children in the country die before their fifth birthday from
“Millions of children who
lack daily nutrition are more susceptible to illnesses including
pneumonia, bronchitis and asthma due to air pollution and face the
risk of dropping out of schools,” said Muyot. These children also
face devastating and life-long health risks as air pollution can
affect the development of their lungs, brain and other organs, he
Last year, the Philippines
recorded the 3rd highest number of deaths due to air pollution with
45.3 deaths per 100,000 individuals, next to China as first and
Mongolia as second. “Save the Children Philippines makes sure
children have a healthy start in life,” said Muyot.
It implements maternal and
child health and nutrition services for children and pregnant and
lactating mothers in deprived areas in the capital Manila and
conflict-affected areas in Mindanao to address malnutrition. To
prevent spread of diseases, the group provides clean water, hygiene
and sanitation programs in public schools in the most deprived areas
and during humanitarian response to natural disasters.