Environmental pollution kills more than 1 in 4 children under the age of five every year - that's 1.7 million children worldwide. The most common causes of death among children aged one month to five years are diarrhea, malaria and pneumonia.
The World Health Organization warns these child deaths will increase dramatically if action is not taken to reduce environmental risks.
Air pollution is the biggest killer and is responsible for 6.5 million premature deaths every year, including nearly 600,000 deaths among children under age five.
While most of these child deaths occur in developing countries, Maria Neira, WHO Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health told VOA that air pollution was a big leveler between rich and poor countries. “You can be a very rich child, your parents very rich, but living in a place, in a city, which is very polluted-then there is very little you can do because we all need to breathe. So, even if you are rich or poor, you still need to breathe and this is very pernicious. Air pollution is everywhere,” she said.