IRISH air is quietly killing its people.
A new report by the Environmental Protection Agency has revealed that Ireland has repeatedly breached air pollution standards set by the World Health Organization and that these breaches have resulted in over 1500 premature deaths a year.
The report shows that our home heating habits and over-reliance on cars are the primary contributors to our bad air quality.
With the cold months ahead, it’s inevitable that both central heating and the burning of coal for the open fire are set to become a regular fixture within Irish homes, but while that may be keeping you warm and cosy, it can also be significantly compromising your health.
While Ireland has remained within EU air quality levels – something the UK have repeatedly failed to do – it hasn’t met WHO, EEA or the Protection of Human Health criteria.
One particular pollutant that broke WHO rules is particle matter, which can lead to respiratory diseases like asthma.
Speaking on the matter, Pat Kenny from the Environmental Protection Agency said: “When we compare our air quality levels to those recommended by the World Health Organisation, the situation is a bit more complex. We face challenges in reducing our levels of particulate matter and ozone to below those recommended by the WHO Air Quality Guidelines.”
The agency said the worst offending places last year were Longford in Co Meath and Ennis, Co Clare.
However, monitoring sites in Finglas, Marino, Rathmines and Coleraine Street in Dublin, Heatherton Park, Cork,
Claremorris, Co Mayo, and Bray, Co Wicklow, also picked up pollution levels above World Health Organisation guidelines.
The ban on smoky coal in cities is expected to be extended nationwide next year.
Traditional fossil fuel burning remains a large contributor to air pollution with increasing evidence that farming is a large contributor.
A new Ambient Air Monitoring Programme is also launching today which aims to provide a 48 hour air-quality forecast to highlight the issue and problem areas.