Thursday 22 October 2020
Green Party Deputy leader Malachai O'Hara has said that the Executive is compromising public health with inaction on air pollution as year on year breaches of air quality standards render toxic air the accepted norm.
Malachai O'Hara commented as the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) released its "Air Pollution in Northern Ireland Report" for 2019:
"This report details breaches of air quality standards at four monitoring sites across Northern Ireland. These breaches are being highlighted year on year yet Executive Ministers have done nothing to address the toxic air that's afflicting our communities causing early death and ill health.
“Air pollution causes heart and lung disease, is linked to low birth weight, children’s lung conditions, dementia and it may contribute to mental health issues. Yet, year on year breaches of EU air quality standards are met with government inaction and toxic air has become the accepted norm.
"The Infrastructure and Environment Ministers announced earlier this month that they are working on a, "Clean Air Strategy Discussion Document". We need urgent action on air pollution not discussion documents and Ministerial photocalls.
"A Clean Air strategy for Northern Ireland must be published and implemented as an Executive priority. The focus must be on increased monitoring of air quality to gain a complete picture of the problem alongside targeted interventions to address the sources of air pollution including diesel vehicle emissions and ammonia pollution associated with intensive farming practices.
"The Covid-19 pandemic has made us all more aware of our health and well-being. It's time to be guided by the medical and scientific evidence around the causes and effects of air pollution and make an honest attempt to create healthier, happier communities across Northern Ireland."
Sinead McIvor - 07701 302 498
NOTES TO EDITORS:
1. The full report can be accessed via: