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18/09/2021

Air quality in Longford suffering owing to absence of smoky coal ban

EPA launches annual Air Quality report on World Lung Day

Air quality in Longford suffering owing to absence of smoky coal ban

File photo: EPA report shows air quality in Longford suffering owing to absence of smoky coal ban

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) annual Air Quality report, the level of harmful particles in the air in Longford can be twice as high as they are in Bray.

The EPA selected the two towns to compare and highlight the impact that solid fuel use has on air quality.

Bray has a ban on the sale and use of bituminous coal. In contrast Longford has no ban on the sale and use of bituminous coal.

The EPA measured the level of PM2.5, a harmful particle produced when smoky coal is burned, during a five-year period, from 2013 to 2018.

And they found that although the air at both locations, at times, does not meet the WHO air quality guideline for PM2.5, it is worse in Longford due to the increased use of solid fuel for home heating.  

The Air Quality report, launched on World Lung Day, shows that while Irish air quality complied with the legal limits, the World Health Organisation’s health-related guideline values were not met.

Dr Micheál Lehane, Director of the EPA’s Office of Radiation Protection & Environmental Monitoring, said, “We all expect that the air we breathe is clean, but we cannot take this for granted. Air pollution is a major environmental risk to health, so it is now time to tackle the two key issues that impact negatively on air quality in Ireland – transport emissions in large urban areas and emissions from burning of solid fuels.  The choices we make affect the levels of pollution in the air we breathe. We need to decarbonise our public transport system and in general reduce our reliance on internal combustion vehicles. Moving to cleaner ways of heating our homes will also significantly improve air quality in our towns and cities.”

See Longford and Bray - A Tale of Two Towns extract from EPA report below...

Read the full EPA Air Quality in Ireland 2018 report HERE

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