The Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital (RVEEH) has become the first Irish hospital to remove all nitrous oxide supplies in a bid to reduce the hospital's carbon footprint.
The decision to stop using nitrous oxide comes following the establishment of a sustainability committee at the hospital last year.
The drug is regularly used by doctors and dentists to sedate patients that are undergoing procedures. However, it has the largest carbon footprint of anaesthetic gases and is a potent greenhouse gas.
Dr Brendan O’Hare, consultant anaesthetist at the RVEEH, commented: “The process of ceasing to use nitrous oxide is a big moment for the hospital.
“Not only are there environmental concerns around the drug, but there are also growing concerns in recent years about its use as a recreational drug.
“According to the most recent World Drug Survey, nitrous oxide is now the 14th most popular recreational drug worldwide.”
Although there is no data about how much CO2 is generated from the use of nitrous oxide in Ireland, data from the UK shows that the practice of anaesthesia alone contributes 5 per cent of the total CO2 emissions of the NHS.