Air Pollution: A Real And Present Danger To All

I have been monitoring the increasing risk of air pollution in Dublin for some time now and I was the first Dublin TD to bring it up in a special Topical Debate in the Dail.

Carbon emissions from cars have been the centre of attention in the debate about climate change. Now there is evidence of a different but no less toxic result of diesel emissions from cars, trucks and buses.

Europe has had a Clean Air Directive for more than a decade now and has some enforcement powers notably heavy fines.

In many of Europe’s major cities such as Paris, London and Madrid air pollution has reached alarming levels with reports of severe health problems in children and older people. Some cities have faced huge fines for breaching European danger limits and are having to deal with the health effects of pollution on local residents.

Dublin is in no way immune and there is evidence of repeated breaches to the guideline limits in the city. The measurements recorded so far this year show that safe levels have been breached 84 times, a massive increase over the numbers recorded for the whole of last year. That includes 4 excess readings in Blanchardstown.

This cannot be tolerated. The Minister did acknowledge to me that he recognises how serious the problem is but he was less than forthright in announcing remedial measures.

As in climate change policies will Dublin become a laggard in adopting rules to require adherence to safe levels? Will we have to wait for the threat of European fines to force action?

  • Clean Air is a vital part of any healthy city.
  • Dublin made huge advances previously to secure a clean city by the ban on smoky coal nearly 30 years ago.
  • We need to bring in remedies as radical as that smoky coal ban to guarantee all our people, young and old, the right to breathe clean air wherever they live or wherever they go in Dublin