Rachel Woods MLA has commented on the publication of the Air Pollution in Northern Ireland report for 2020, which was published today.
The Green Party NI MLA for North Down said: “The scale of air pollution in Northern Ireland is an environmental and public health emergency, yet the Executive has responded with delay and inaction.
“This report reveals that of the three sites in Northern Ireland which monitor polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) levels, two breached the UK Air Quality Strategy levels. PAH pollution can cause cancer, so this is especially concerning.
“Air pollution is predicted to cause 84,000 cases of disease in Northern Ireland by 2035. Our air quality crisis has a significant human, environmental, and financial cost, and needs to be met with a serious response from the Executive, including a move to have national standards on air quality limits in line with the World Health Organisation, especially on particulate matter levels.
“For the first time since 2002, Northern Ireland has had no recorded breaches of nitrogen dioxide levels. This is encouraging, but as the report states, this is due to the temporary impact of lockdown restrictions, rather than any improvement in the Executive’s long-term policies.
“Last month, Minister Edwin Poots confirmed to me that his Department has not even yet started drafting a Clean Air Strategy. The inaction from our Executive on this urgent environmental and public health crisis is inexcusable.”
Media contact: Jack O'Dwyer-Henry (07504410770)
2020 Air Pollution in Northern Ireland report - https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/news/air-pollution-northern-ireland-2020-report-released
DAERA Minister’s answer on the Clean Air Strategy - http://aims.niassembly.gov.uk/questions/printquestionsummary.aspx?docid=358737
Health Minister’s answer on the cost of air pollution - http://aims.niassembly.gov.uk/questions/printquestionsummary.aspx?docid=358789