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WHO: Polluted environments kill 1.7m children a year

Indian children play in an area with high levels of high air pollution near a garbage dump in Calcutta, eastern India, on Feb 24, 2017. (EPA photo)

LONDON - A quarter of all global deaths of children under five are due to unhealthy or polluted environments including dirty water and air, second-hand smoke and a lack or adequate hygiene, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.

Such unsanitary and polluted environments can lead to fatal cases of diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia, the WHO said in a report, and kill 1.7 million children a year.

"A polluted environment is a deadly one -- particularly for young children," WHO director-general Margaret Chan said in a statement. "Their developing organs and immune systems, and smaller bodies and airways, make them especially vulnerable to dirty air and water."

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