Rachel Woods MLA has commented on Department of Health figures which reveal that the cost of air pollution in Northern Ireland is expected to amount to £190m to the HSC between 2017 and 2025, and £635m to all other sectors between 2017 and 2035.
The Green Party MLA for North Down said: “The pandemic has highlighted the importance of proactively protecting public health in order to save lives and protect our health service. Air pollution is currently costing Northern Ireland hundreds of millions to deal with, but more worryingly, it is currently costing hundreds of lives. Air pollution is a serious issue which the Executive parties cannot afford to ignore any longer.
“It is estimated that around 800 deaths a year in Northern Ireland are linked to air pollution, and there are expected to be 84,000 new cases of disease in Northern Ireland linked to air pollution between 2017 and 2035.
“The Green Party NI has been calling the Executive to introduce a Clean Air Strategy for years and lobbying for changes to be made about which pollutants are monitored at a local level, especially to World Health Organisation standards. In his recently published draft Environment Strategy, Minister Poots merely committed to bringing forward a draft Clean Air Strategy sometime in 2022.
“The Executive and the Minister have repeatedly failed to respond to air pollution with the urgency it requires. The Executive must work together to address climate breakdown and take the urgent action needed to improve the quality of life of all our citizens.”
Media contact: Jack O’Dwyer-Henry (07504410770)