Tuesday 06 October 2020
The Covid-19 pandemic has made tackling air pollution more important than ever before, Green Party Deputy Leader Cllr Malachai O'Hara has claimed.
The comments mark Clean Air Day 2020 (Thursday 08 October) and as scientific evidence builds on the links between exposure to air pollution and the severity of the Covid infection.
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.
“The pandemic has brought our health and well-being into sharp focus. Covid-19 is a respiratory infection and we know that the virus can bring on pneumonia and respiratory distress. Medical evidence, furthermore is mounting around the dangerous link between Covid-19 and air pollution.
“People living in high-pollution places are more likely to have compromised respiratory, cardiac and other systems – and are therefore more vulnerable to Covid-19’s impacts.
“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.
“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. Let’s recognise the air pollution problem on Clean Air Day and commit ourselves to working for happier, healthier communities across Northern Ireland.”
Sinead McIvor - 07701 302 498