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4th June 2019 | Environment, Local Government, Press Releases

Green Party calls for more action from the Irish Government and local authorities on urban air quality

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As information emerges suggesting that Irish air pollution breaches safety levels 84 times this year, the Green Party has called for more action from the Irish Government, and local authorities on urban air quality.

The Party’s Dublin MEP Ciarán Cuffe said:

“We know that air pollution is causing 950 premature deaths per year in Ireland.* The last air monitoring point in the North Inner City was closed down by the EPA last year, despite Minister Naughten promising us state-of-the-art air monitoring two years ago. The EPA data is a mess to navigate, and doesn’t tell us what is causing the pollution. The limited monitoring is concentrated in affluent areas. Dublin is at risk during ‘temperature inversion’ weather. We need to ramp up our monitoring (like London) and take action to reduce air pollution. The last air quality monitor in Dublin’s north inner city (on Coleraine Street in Dublin 7) closed last year. I want the EPA to improve their monitoring and present the data in a user-friendly manner. Currently the EPA’s website is poorly presented making it difficult to access relevant data. Cities such as London manage to present air quality data in a user-friendly manner (see www.londonair.org.uk), so why can’t the EPA here in Ireland do the same?

“Air Pollution is a global concern due to its impacts on human health, the environment and climate change. The quality of the air we breathe is so important to our health and well-being. Poor air quality has a real impact on health and takes years off people’s lives. It is estimated that four people in Ireland die prematurely every day from illnesses relating to poor air quality. We know that air pollution in the greater Dublin area breaches the World Health Organisation’s guidelines on a regular basis. Our air quality monitoring system is seriously deficient.** We need to look to our European neighbours to learn how to adequately monitor and tackle our air pollution levels.

“In the short-term I want the EPA to tell us more about the contributors to poor air quality. Is it industrial pollution coming from Europe, or is it emissions from traffic, home heating systems or cruise ships in Dublin Port? The public deserves to know. Minister Bruton must then take action to reduce emissions.

Green Party Councillor for Dublin’s south-west inner city Michael Pidgeon said:

“Air quality is a major political priority in cities across the world. But Ireland’s leaders simply haven’t woken up to the issue. London is taxing the dirtiest vehicles and auditing the air at schools. Shenzhen’s 16,000 buses are 100% electric. Oslo bans cars at peak pollution times. Yet Dublin doesn’t even bother to monitor air pollution consistently.

*Note 1: 950 premature deaths figure comes from http://breathelife2030.org/city-data-page/?city=2475

**Note 2: Cuffe’s full position paper is available here: http://bit.ly/2VAuOwN