Fianna Fáil Senator and Seanad Group Leader, Catherine Ardagh has said that not enough is being done to alert people to take immediate action to help reduce the current high level of pollutants in the air across Dublin.
It was reported earlier this week that all Dublin based air quality stations recorded an Air Quality Index for Health (AQHI) score of 10, which is the lowest score on the scale.
The current high level of pollution is believed to be as a result of local pollution emitted from cars and home heating. These emissions combined with ambient levels of pollution from the continent with cold weather conditions means pollutants are not being dispersed.
Speaking in the Seanad during Order of Business earlier today, Senator Ardagh said, “Ireland boasts one of the most flourishing natural environments in the world, yet our lifestyle continues to jeopardise it rather than protect it.
“Poor quality air does not just have harmful impact on our environment, but also triggers extra demand on our already pressurised health services. There can be serious health implications suffered by many during a period of high pollution, including the elderly, those with lung or heart disease or suffering from conditions such as Asthma.
“Ireland has several existing strategies, such as banning the use of smokey coal to reduce air pollution in accordance with the EU Clean Air for Europe Directive. However, we must look at what else we can do to ensure that we meet the EPA’s greenhouse gas emission projection which will require Ireland to lower its average PM2.5 levels by 10% by 2020.
“This must be a government led initiative but we can all learn how to take precautions to protect against poor quality air. We have to look at what we can do to get more people to switch from their cars to public transport and also encourage a switch away from diesel and promote less polluting alternatives.
“Going forward, the Government needs to spell out what it's doing to lessen the environmental impact of our homes and offices, our transport system and our agri-food production,” concluded Senator Ardagh.