Green party Deputy leader Mal O'Hara has condemned the dereliction of duty by the Executive Parties in failing to bring forward a Clean Air Strategy for Northern Ireland.
The comments came as we mark another Clean Air day without a Clean Air Strategy for Northern Ireland.
Cllr Malachai O'Hara said: “The World Health Organisation and the UK Government recognise that air pollution is the largest environmental health risk we face today.
“Poor air quality causes heart and lung disease, is linked to low birth weight and children’s lung development and may even contribute to mental health issues. Over one in twenty fours deaths in Belfast are attributable to dirty air and despite the scale of the problem, there has been little to no movement from the Executive parties on this issue.”
“We must respond to air pollution with the same urgency shown around Covid-19. We know that legal air pollution limits are breached on a regular basis across Belfast. My work at Council means that we are conducting our first detailed assessment of dirty air since 2010 and this will report later this year. I am anxious about the results as I fully expect they will show just how dirty our air is in the City. While we can make some progress at City Council, we are dependent on the Executive parties bringing forward a Clean Air strategy. This strategy should ban polluting fuels, provide enabling legislation for clean air zones in towns and cities and enhance sustainable transport so that people can get out of their cars.”
“We must adopt the WHO's legal air pollution limits as a matter of urgency as part of a Clean Air Strategy for Northern Ireland. This will save countless lives. Let’s recognise the air pollution problem on Clean Air Day and commit ourselves to working for happier, healthier communities across Northern Ireland.”