TD urges Govt to introduce air pollution warnings following Cork city findings

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TD urges Govt to introduce air pollution warnings following Cork city findings
TD urges Govt to introduce air pollution warnings following Cork city findings

A Fianna Fáil TD is calling on the Government to introduce air pollution warnings as part of the national weather service.

James Browne says air quality in many urban areas is poor, with Cork city being highlighted in recent days as being one of the worst in Europe.

He says it is important people are aware of how bad the air quality is around them as it can be harmful to health.

The Wexford deputy wants Met Éireann and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to come together.

Mr Browne has written to the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government and the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment to ask whether air quality and air pollution levels can be reported as part of the national weather forecast, similar to how pollen alerts are currently issued.

Deputy Browne was commenting as it was reported that air quality in Cork city was one of the worst in Europe over the past number of days.

He said: “It’s important that people are aware of how bad the air quality is around them. Met Éireann in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could provide a service whereby they can alert people to air quality levels across the country.

“Every day the EPA tweet an Air Quality Index for Health (AQIH) summary. This rates the air quality as very poor, poor, fair or good depending on where you are in the country. This could easily be transmitted on our televisions or radios for those who don’t use Twitter.

“I understand that air quality in Ireland is typically in line with EU legal limits but above World Health Organisation (WHO) levels for several pollutants. However, we have been seeing spikes in air pollution and Enniscorthy in Wexford has been described as akin to New Delhi in terms of air pollution. We need to be striving for better.

Research shows that 1,180 people are prematurely dying each year in Ireland and that there are in the region of 1,700 new cases of childhood asthma as a result of poor air quality. Day-to-day it is very harmful for those who suffer with respiratory problems.

“If people were equipped with the knowledge that the air quality in their area was particularly bad on a given day, then they could take the necessary precautions by reducing or limiting the time they spend outdoors while working or doing activities.

“In other countries, Air Quality Alert notifications notify people of current air quality levels through text messages and weather apps. The data is being collated across Ireland anyway so why not let people know?

“The Government continues to ignore pleas to implement a nationwide smoky coal ban, which would undoubtedly improve air quality for people in Wexford. For a start the least they can do is inform people of the levels of pollution around them and let them take measures to help themselves, but they need to wake up to the harmful realities of air pollution and implement a nationwide smoky coal ban without delay,” concluded Deputy Browne.

Source: Full Feed