Tuesday 16 February 2021
Deputy Leader of the Green Party NI Malachai O'Hara has submitted a party response to DAERAs Clean Air Strategy discussion document with a clear and simple message - clean air for all citizens.
The submission response also criticised DAERA for stringing out the process around producing and implementing a clean air strategy while people develop and die from conditions attributable to air pollution.
Cllr Malachai O'Hara said: "Toxic air is a public health crisis that has been ignored by successive governments. The reality is that our air quality monitoring system is unfit for purpose and even when breaches of EU air quality are detected, there is limited action taken to address these breaches.
"The department should be consulting on a clean air strategy and expediting its implementation. Instead, the process is being strung out with a discussion document - we need action not discussion documents. People’s lives depend on action because we know that around 500 people die across Northern Ireland each year from conditions linked to toxic air.
"Our transport systems prioritise the private car over public transport and active travel and so our air is thick with carbon monoxide and particulate matter. The country air that many of us idealise is actually often heavily polluted by ammonia caused by the intensification of farming across large tracts of rural Northern Ireland.
"Urgent action is required to save lives and prevent more people succumbing to conditions linked to air pollution. It's unacceptable that citizens continue to be exposed to toxic air while government departments posture over a discussion document."
Sinead McIvor - 07701 302 498