1,500 die prematurely due to air pollution; new report

At least 1,500 people die prematurely here every year due to the effects of air pollution - but we still have one of Europe’s lowest death rates as a result of poor air quality, writes Stephen Rogers.

The Air quality in Europe — 2017 report report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) shows that 1,480 deaths here in 2014 were attributable to “particulate matter”, 10 to nitrogen dioxide and 20 to concentrations of ozone in the air.

In terms of premature deaths EEA said particulate matter, the biggest killer in terms of environment pollution, had the least impact on Ireland along with Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland. The highest impact was found to be in central and eastern Europe.

Furthermore, EEA was able to say that 374 years of life were lost per 100,000 people here due to environmental pollution. That compares to an EU average of 1,040 years.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency particulate matter has a number of sources including domestic solid fuel burning, diesel fuelled vehicle emissions, agriculture and even natural sources such as sea salt and wind-blown dust.

The biggest causes of nitrogen dioxide are traffic emissions. According to the EPA, at ground level, higher concentrations of ozone in the air have adverse implications for human health, affecting the functioning of the respiratory system.

The Environmental Environment Agency said air pollution is the single largest environmental health risk in Europe and the disease burden resulting from it is "substantial".

"Heart disease and stroke are the most common reasons for premature death attributable to air pollution and are responsible for 80 % of cases;

lung diseases and lung cancer follow."

KEYWORDS: Pollution, Health


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