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  • Southside

Government vows to take action on transport pollution

Saturday, 27th July, 2019 4:00pm
Government vows to take action on transport pollution

Concerns are rising over trafic pollution in the city.

Government vows to take action on transport pollution

Concerns are rising over trafic pollution in the city.

THE Government has vowed to take immediate action following a study that showed high levels of pollution from transport in areas of Dublin. 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study showed that nitrogen dioxide levels due to traffic, pose a public health risk. 

The report – ‘Urban indicators- Nitrogen dioxide levels in Dublin’, presents new evidence which indicates that NO2 may exceed the annual EU limit value in certain city centre streets including Pearse Street, the M50 motorway, and St John’s Road West, near Heuston Station.

Dr Ciara McMahon, EPA Programme Manager, said: “These areas have high NO2 levels that are likely to exceed the European annual limit value for NO2.

“This report outlines the findings of two recent studies which suggest that levels of Nitrogen Dioxide in certain parts of Dublin are exceeding the EU limit value,” she said.

“Given the known health impacts on people’s respiratory systems, this is a cause of concern. Traffic is the dominant source of Nitrogen Dioxide in our urban areas and the public must be supported in taking clean transport choices if we want to reduce nitrogen dioxide concentrations in the air we breathe.”

Patrick Kenny, EPA Air Quality Manager added: “The report clearly shows the impact on the levels of Nitrogen Dioxide from traffic on busy roads on the areas close by and presents an early warning of potential exceedances in Dublin. The findings of this report are supported by monitoring data at the new air quality monitoring station at St John’s Road West in Dublin. We will continue to monitor the results from this station and have started discussions with the relevant authorities.”

The report prompted concern, with the Asthma Society of Ireland launching their #OwnOurAir Campaign that aims to make the air we breathe cleaner and safer for the people of Ireland.

 The #OwnOurAir campaign was launched with an ‘on-street’ awareness event on Pearse Street to help people understand the importance of clean air. 

 In a survey (161 respondents total) conducted on Pearse Street (22 respondents), and online, (139 respondents) 81 per cent believed that Dublin had a problem with air pollution.

Speaking at the launch, Sarah O’Connor, CEO of the Asthma Society, said: “Pollution from motor vehicles, industrial plants, domestic solid fuels and other sources is bad for everyone’s health but it has a particularly negative impact on people with asthma, as air pollution is absorbed into the sinus, the airways and the lungs, triggering asthma symptoms.

“Our #OwnOurAir campaign aims to make the air for people less polluted by achieving key legislative and environmental policy changes and by building engagement and behaviour change among members of the public in respect to air pollution.”

The Minister for Transport, Sport and Tourism Shane Ross, and the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton, both expressed concern about the findings of the report.

Minister Bruton said: "These findings are very concerning and underline the need to implement the Climate Action Plan.

“We will now convene the relevant bodies to ensure we take immediate action on this matter and improve the air quality in Dublin."

 Minister Ross added: "The findings of this EPA report and the potential health concerns arising for those living and working along these routes are a matter of grave concern. We need to act and reduce NO2 emissions in urban areas.”

Dublin City Council described the report as a timely call to action to all stakeholders to address the challenge of meeting EU air quality standards and protecting public health across the Dublin region.

“The underlying source of this air quality challenge is clearly identified in the report as being linked to transport emissions in heavily trafficked areas,” the council stated in a response to the report.

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