The Government has been urged to start a ‘Green Dublin’ campaign to improve air quality in the capital. Calls have come as the Environmental Protection Agency warned that increased traffic is dangerously polluting air.
The EPA recorded eight times more air quality breaches in Dublin so far this year than in all of 2018. The environmental watchdog recorded 78 breaches of air containing too many pollutants in Dublin so far this year — compared to just nine in the whole of 2018.
The Davitt Road area in Dublin 12 has recorded 15 air quality warnings so far this year followed by 12 in Ringsend and 11 in Blanchardstown near the M50. Two breaches were even recorded in the Phoenix Park which is one of the greenest areas in Dublin.
In a statement to the Irish Sun, the EPA said traffic volumes in Dublin caused a rise in the number of breaches this year along with weather conditions that brought more pollutants to Ireland from abroad. The group also attributes part of the spike to an increase in the number of monitoring stations that have been introduced as part of the National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Programme and warns pollutant particles in the air can cause pulmonary and respiratory issues for people who breathe them in.
The Labour Party’s Joan Burton is calling on the Government to introduce a ‘Green Dublin’ strategy to reduce traffic congestion and increase the number of trees. “I met with the Asthma Society of Ireland and spoke about this. People with asthma are among the worst affected. Essentially what we need to do is green Dublin. Bus Connects have come up with some good ideas but they’re proposal for large scale downing of trees is just not acceptable. In air pollution terms it would be a disaster. We can’t afford to be cutting down trees. We need a comprehensive greening programme for Dublin and particularly around busy roads. We need a green scheme councils can work with residents associations on.”
Fianna Fail’s Dublin spokesman John Lahart said the Government has done next to nothing to combat Dublin smog. “If you go up to the Dublin Mountains and look at the city, you can see the outline of the M50 as it snakes around the city.”
The Department of Climate Action and Environment said in a statement that they are working on a National Clean Air Strategy which will be an all government response to air pollution.
Source – Irish Sun