Minister: Poor air quality leads to four deaths a day in Ireland

Minister: Poor air quality leads to four deaths a day in Ireland

Four people are dying prematurely in Ireland every day, because of poor air quality.

The Environment Minister, Denis Naughten, says it is one of the scary realities that is adding to pressure on our health services.

Speaking last night at Trinity College Dublin, Minister Naughten said he realises he has been dubbed 'The Minister for the Apocalypse', but the truth is that our actions today can have a direct impact on the next generation.

The Minister said: "Right across Europe 45 people every day are dying prematurely because of poor air quality, in Ireland four people a day are dying prematurely from poor air quality.

"So the steps we take today to reduce emissions can have a direct impact on improving air quality, reducing the number of deaths in relation to breathing- related complications and reducing the pressure on our health services."

Environmental campaigners have been welcoming the Minister's recent approach to climate change.

Stop Climate Chaos is a civil society set up to campaign for Ireland to do its fair share in tackling the problem.

It says Mr Naughten's latest comments on how the country approaches that challenge is an important step forward.

Friends of the Earth Director Oisín Coghlan believes there has been a fundamental shift in attitude.

Mr Coghlan said: "Our current climate plan of action isn't working. It's only been there a year, but ever since it was unveiled Friends of the Earth and our allies have been saying it wasn't ambitious enough, it wasn't clear enough, there weren't enough new visions there.

"It has also been criticised by the official Climate Change Advisory Council as well, so it's good, it's actually a welcome step for the Minister to recognise it's not working.

"We need to radically revise, which are his words, this plan to make it fit for purpose."

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