Indonesian forest fires putting 10 million children at risk

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United Nations warns children and babies born to mothers exposed to pollution during pregnancy are vulnerable to lifelong physical and cognitive damage. FMTNews

JAKARTA: Indonesian forest fires are putting nearly 10 million children at risk from air pollution, the United Nations warned Tuesday, as scientists said the blazes were releasing vast amounts of greenhouse gases.

Jakarta has deployed tens of thousands of personnel and water-bombing aircraft to tackle the slash-and-burn blazes set to clear agricultural land. The fires are an annual problem but this year are the worst since 2015 due to dry weather. Small children are especially vulnerable due to undeveloped immune systems while babies born to mothers exposed to pollution during pregnancy may have low birth weights and be delivered early, they said.“Every year, millions of children are breathing toxic air that threatens their health and causes them to miss school – resulting in lifelong physical and cognitive damage.”

Schools were forced to shut across Malaysia last week as dense smog from its neighbour clouded the skies, while Singapore was also shrouded in haze during the weekend’s Formula One motor race.There have been a series of wildfire outbreaks worldwide, from the Amazon to Australia, and scientists are increasingly worried about their impact on global warming.


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