In a few days, millions of people around the world will come together for Earth Day to support a sustainable planet. Children–the inheritors of our planet–have the biggest stake in environmental protection, and much needs to be done to ensure that all children will grow up in a safe, healthy environment.
Right now, rising levels of air and water pollution in megacities around the world are drastically affecting the mental and physical health of children. Every year, 1.2 million children under the age of 5 die from pneumonia, 50% directly related to indoor air pollution. Every day, 4,500 children die from waterborne illnesses due to polluted water sources and unsanitary disposal of human waste.
As the climate gets warmer and the global population grows, basic resources are rapidly becoming more scarce. Children in areas like Sub-Saharan Africa face extreme famine and drought, leading to severe malnutrition.
Certain environmental conditions have a particular impact on girls; in Africa alone, women and girls spend 40 billion hours every year carrying water to their homes, hindering them from finishing their education. Girls are also more often exposed to toxic fumes from fossil fuels used to cook and heat their homes.
Around the world, World of Children Honorees are working hard to improve these aspects of children’s environments. Some build wells and latrines while others feed malnourished children with locally-sourced, nutrient rich ingredients.
Still others are educating children about conservation and recycling, educating communities about the health risks of smoke or providing families with easy to use, solar-powered cookers.
We still have much to do in order to ensure the world’s children inherit a healthy planet. Join us today by sharing this photo to pledge your support for a healthier planet for today’s children and generations to come: