Air pollution in Ireland will kill soon as many people as tobacco the EPA have warned

Published by Laurie Manetta on

November 8th, 2016

More than 1,000 people die prematurely in Ireland because of the air pollution the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) State of the Environment report has revealed.

Published every four years by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this report provides an overview of the condition of our waters, air and natural resources and the impact of the main economic sectors on the environment.

Laura Burke, Director General of the EPA warns changes are crucial to preserve our health.

Three key findings of the report :

  • Climate change the defining environmental issue of our time.
  • Species such as the corncrake and the curlew almost extinct in Ireland.
  • Dealing with problems such as poor air quality and water pollution is necessary to reduce risks for our health.

The link between health and a clean environment seems obvious. Mrs Burke said, “A healthy environment is essential for the health of our population and for economic success. We have made progress in many areas over the last 20 years, but we are still losing much of what is positive, beautiful and economically valuable about our environment.  We are now seeing how vulnerable we are to climate change as an island nation. Our air quality may rate well by European standards but there is no safe level of air pollution. In years to come, the pollution of our air from vehicles or burning fuels will be seen as being on a par with tobacco smoking. It has direct health consequences with over 1,200 premature deaths every year from exposure to particulate matter in Ireland.”

Commenting on the need for transformational change needed, she said:
“Ireland has a great deal to gain by becoming a leader in the move to a low-carbon and resource-efficient economy.  We can capitalize on our natural advantages.  And we can promote rapid decarbonisation by other countries.  This will help reduce the costs and the impacts of climate change.  But what is absolutely clear is that we are at a crossroads and the choices we make now will have implications for the future of humanity”.

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Laurie Manetta

Laurie is a contributor to the Green News. She is currently undertaking a Master's Degree in Environmental Policy at Sciences PO Grenoble in France.