Dublin mayors pledge to meet WHO air quality targets

Published by Shamim Malekmian on

February 17th, 2020

Dublin became the first Irish city to pledge its support to a new global campaign to ensure higher standards of air quality standards in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) targets.

The Deputy Lord Mayor and the Mayors of the other three local authorities in the capital this morning signed up to the BreatheLife campaign led by WHO, the UN and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) to mobilise cities to protect the public from air pollution.

By signing up to the campaign, Dublin joins 76 other cities, regions and countries in vowing to bring air quality values to safe levels by 2030 while working on innovating solutions for battling air pollution.

The city’s Deputy Lord Mayor, Cllr Tom Brabazon, said that hitting the campaign’s stipulated targets requires making “unpopular” yet “right” decisions for the sake of public as well as the planet’s health.

The four signatories acknowledged the need to allocating more road space for pedestrians, cycling and public transport in Dublin, as well as the need to move away from burning solid fuels to heat our homes.

An Cathaoirleach of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, Cllr Shay Brennan, said that protecting the environment is “the cornerstone of our policies”. “Our Council will continue to promote policies, actions and behaviours that align with BreatheLife goals and improve the air quality for people who live and work in our area,” Mr Brennan said.

Last September, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warned that Emissions from transport and the burning of solid fuel remain Ireland’s top sources of air pollution, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has warned.

Another recent EPA report on urban environmental issues revealed that NO2 pollution in Dublin might already be above the EU safety ceiling. The M50 motorway, several city-centre streets and the entrance and exit of the Dublin Port tunnel were reported as the most polluted areas.

Over 90 per cent of the world’s population is estimated to breathe polluted air that fails to meet recommended WHO air quality objectives, with air pollution influencing seven million untimely deaths every year.

A new index from the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago released last November described air pollution as a more significant threat to human lives than smoking and even war.

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Shamim Malekmian

Shamim is a Senior Reporter at The Green News and a contributing writer to the Irish Examiner, Cork Evening Echo and the Dublin Inquirer.