The Poolbeg plant in Dublin Bay , Source: David Knox / Unsplash

Ireland adopts country’s first ever ‘Clean Air Strategy’

Ireland adopts country’s first ever ‘Clean Air Strategy’

According to officials, every year there are 1,300-1,400 premature deaths attributed to air pollution, ten times the number of car-related fatalities

Yesterday, the Irish government adopted the Clean Air Strategy, a cross-governmental plan to bring the country’s air quality within the World Health Organisation’s standards. Additionally, according to an official statement, most air pollutants are also the source of CO2 emissions, so reductions can help the republic tackle climate targets.

At the moment, air pollution in Ireland is estimated to cause around 1,300-1,400 premature deaths, which is more than traffic accident fatalities. Additionally, the government believes that air pollution could also impact cognitive development and mental health, contributing to a knock-on negative cost to the economy.

Preliminary targets

According to an official statement, the strategy commits Ireland to achieving the new WHO (World Health Organisation) guideline values for air quality by 2040. Progress will be measured through yearly reports, with several interim targets – in 2026 and 2030.

Additionally, official sources put the number of yearly premature deaths caused by air pollution (1,300 -1,400) to be around ten times higher than people who die in road accidents. Moreover, citizens exposed to high air pollution have a higher risk of illness, including stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, asthma and dementia.

Government sources also cite the economic cost of air pollution as a reason to act in tackling the issue, as apart from premature deaths, air pollution can cause absences from work, reduced productivity, higher spending on medicine and increased hospital admissions.

The strategy itself covers a wide range of sectors and benefits, including insulation and electric home heating, improved agricultural practices, more sustainable transport options, moving away from fossil fuels and lower carbon emissions.

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan was quoted in a press statement explaining that air pollution had the most detrimental effects on the health of children, older people or people who may be medically compromised.



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