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Must children die from bad air before we act on pollution?

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As Hong Kong was choking under an intense blanket of haze last week, a mother in Britain brought the discourse about the deadly effects of air pollution on children’s health to the fore, drawing global attention.

Rosamund Kissi-Debrah’s nine-year-old daughter, Ella, died in February 2013 after suffering three years of seizures and paying 27 visits to various hospitals; Ella lived 25 metres from a heavily polluted road in south London.

Last week, Kissi-Debrah won the right at the High Court to seek a new inquest into her daughter’s death, which was believed to have been caused by air pollution following the discovery of new evidence.

The case has shone a spotlight on how many children around the world are dying as a result of the unsafe air they are breathing. But sadly, those in power are doing nothing to stop it. The indifference to such an obvious problem is prevalent among governments and major health care bodies worldwide.

Hong Kong has yet to see a landmark case such as Ella’s to further highlight the great dangers of air pollution.

The fact that dirty air is bad for us is not rocket science; it is especially risky for children because their lungs, brains, and other organs are still maturing. Therefore, heavy and sustained exposure can lead to illness and other health problems that could last a lifetime. Sadly, in Ella’s case, it led to years of painful hospital visits and her eventual – and untimely – death.

Haze chokes city as wait begins for next monsoon to bring fresh........

© South China Morning Post