Air pollution responsible for one in five deaths among Cambodian toddlers, says UNICEF

PHNOM PENH (Xinhua): The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) issued a statement on Saturday, saying air pollution is responsible for nearly one in every five deaths among children under five in Cambodia.

The Cambodian Ministry of Health and UNICEF jointly released the kingdom's first Children's Environmental Health (CEH) assessment, which highlighted the major environmental health risks that children face, including exposure to air pollution, water and food contamination, toxic metals, pesticides, and hazardous waste.

"The climate crisis is a child rights crisis. Children are now more exposed than ever to intense and destructive environmental hazards that jeopardize their fundamental rights, including their right to survive and thrive," UNICEF Representative in Cambodia Will Parks said in the statement.

Kol Hero, director of the Cambodian Ministry of Health's Preventive Medicine Department, said the negative health impacts on children due to increasing environmental risks and climate change factors cannot be ignored.

"This assessment will be a valuable resource for all stakeholders that are committed to building a healthier, cleaner, and more sustainable environment for our children and future generations," he said.

The CEH assessment recommends that Cambodia strengthen policies and regulations to prevent and control the exposure of pollutants and contaminants, enhance the capacity of healthcare professionals to address environmental health issues, and promote public awareness of climate change and environmental issues. - XInhua

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