The nationwide survey, based on a preliminary lung health screening test (LHST), was carried out on 2000 children aged nine to 15 years as part of the 'Breathe Blue 2015' campaign.

Conducted by the HEAL Foundation in Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru in the last three months, it was aimed at mapping the effects of air pollution on breathing capacity of young children.

"Around 35 percent school going children in India suffer from poor lung health confirming the worst fears due to rising air pollution and deteriorating air quality," Manjari Chandra, representative of the foundation, said here while presenting the findings.

She said children in the national capital are the worst affected with a total of 40 percent in the "poor" and "bad" zone in the test.Bengaluru children came next at 36 percent, while Kolkata ranked third at 35 percent and Mumbai lowest at 27 percent.

Parthasarthi Bhattacharya, director of the Institute of Pulmocare and Research, said preliminary results point to the bad situation in India for children's lung health. Citing reports, he said lung capacity of Indians is 30 percent lower than that of Westerners. According to Anirban Maitra, a consultant pediatric pulmonologist, kids suffer more from lung disease in polluted areas.

"Air quality and pollution are not the only factors contributing to lung diseases in children. We need more data to figure out how much is the damage due to pollution," he said.

 

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