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Dublin pledges to meet WHO air quality guidelines by 2030

Dublin has become the first Irish city to pledge to reach the World Health Organisation (WHO) air quality guidelines by 2030. 

In a joint pledge, the deputy Lord Mayor of Dublin and the mayor of three other Dublin local authorities have signed the BreathLife campaign. 

The campaign combines public health and climate change expertise with guidance on implementing solutions to air pollution, it aims to provide a platform for cities to share the best practices to meet WHO guidelines. 

Dublin is amongst 76 other cities, regions and countries around the world who have also pledged to bring air pollution to safe levels by 2030. 

The WHO guidelines suggest that particulate matter (PM2.5) should not exceed an annual mean of 10 μg/m3 and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) should not exceed  40 μg/m3 annual mean.

Data published last year by Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed that eleven locations in the city were higher than the EU’s annual NO2 limit.

Dublin does not currently have any low emission or car-free zones, however, in order to reduce their air pollution and comply with their BreathLife commitments, this is something that may have to be considered. 

Speaking at an event at Moira House, Dr Maria Neira, director of public health, environment and social determinants at WHO said: ‘We are talking about our own health and the protection of our lungs.

‘When you tackle the causes of air pollution, you start to see the benefits for your health. We know pollution is very much associated with cardiovascular disease and stroke so we need to do more.

‘In the beginning, there might be some difficulties and it might not be very popular, but when the city sees the benefits and sees they can breathe air that doesn’t affect their health in a negative way it will be great.

The Deputy Mayor of Dublin, Tom Brabazon said: ‘I call on all residents in the Dublin region to be climate brave as we implement programmes and take the necessary decisions to reach the BreathLife targets.

‘Hitting the target in the campaign will involve difficult and potentially unpopular decisions, so we all need to be brave if we’re going to make the right decisions for our city.’

In related news, in September 2019, figures from the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) revealed that air pollution contributes to 1,180 premature deaths in Ireland every year, according to the Irish government.

Photo Credit – Pixabay 

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