1 in 3 kids in Italy amid air pollution, Save the Children

'Public health crisis can spur change'

05 June, 16:52

    A view of Rome during coronavirus lockdown [ARCHIVE MATERIAL 20200409 ] A view of Rome during coronavirus lockdown [ARCHIVE MATERIAL 20200409 ]

    ROME - In Italy, children and adolescents living in the most fragile families from a socio-economic point of view are the most at risk from effects of the environmental crisis, the national office of Save the Children said on World Environment Day. 

    It noted that these children often live in poor housing, in areas lacking public green spaces and are in contact with sources of pollution or in earthquake zones.
    Over one in three minors in Italy (37%) live in the 14 cities in which air pollution exceeds recommendation maximum levels.
    In the south, half of families with children between the age of 6 and 17 say that there is no green space within 15 minutes of walking from their homes, while in the northern part of the country only 10% say this.
    One in ten families in the south note that there is degradation in the landscape surrounding them.
    In many cases, children and adolescents live in makeshift lodgings with little access to basic services, where almost one in three families (30%) do not trust the water from the tap. There is a wide divide between the north (20.6%) and the south (41.5%) in this.
    On the consequences of climate change and environmental disasters, Italian adolescents are highly aware, as shown by data elaborated by the Italian national statistics institute ISTAT for Save the Children.
    Almost half of youths between age 14 and 17 (47%) are concerned about the effects of climate change, 54% for air pollution and 42.5% for water pollution.
    Four our of ten adolescents also think that water production and disposal are a serious problem, one in four are alarmed about the destruction of forests and one in five about hydrogeological disturbances.
    ''We are at a crossroads,'' the general director for the Italian branch of Save The Children, Daniela Fatarella, said. ''It can spur true change that ensures environmental and social stability, in part thanks to the large investment called for within the EU as part of the Green Deal, the 2021-2027 budget and the Next Generation EU plan. Today more than even it is necessary for our country to take advantage of this opportunity and these resources and bring in actions to this end: from the converting of polluting industrial sites to the regeneration of disused public spaces to be used for educational and cultural activities for children and the renovation of schools to render them environmentally friendly.''

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