A new report by Reuters reveals that as per estimates, there has been at least a 50 per cent rise in paediatric patients in Lahore hospitals due to respiratory issues caused by poor air quality.

According to provincial health minister Dr. Javed Akram, hospitals are on high alert with extra beds and ventilators on standby for additional emergency cases.

The UN children’s agency highlights that outdoor air pollution across the world contributed to 154,000 deaths of children aged below five in 2019. As for Pakistan, it is one of the top five causes of death among the entire population among whom young children and the elderly are the most vulnerable and severely affected.

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“Children are physiologically more vulnerable to air pollution than adults because their brains, lungs and other organs are still developing,” said UNICEF, further explaining that children breathe twice as fast as adults which increases their exposure to the pollutants.