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Pollution 'causes 3,400 early deaths' in Ireland, says An Taisce

An Taisce also said that poor air quality is costing the country up to €6.3 billion per year in lost days at work and health costs.

Dublin's O'Connell Street
Dublin's O'Connell Street
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

HERITAGE BODY AN Taisce has claimed that poor air quality contributes to 3,400 premature deaths every year in Ireland.

An Taisce also said that air pollution is costing the country up to €6.3 billion per year in lost days at work and education, as well as direct health costs.

In a statement, the group said that the figures for the whole of Europe are “frightening”, citing figures from the European Commissioner for the Environment which claim there are 420,000 premature deaths and almost €800 billion in economic costs across the EU every year. An Taisce said traffic is the main cause of poor air quality.

“We’re fully familiar with the consequences of weak legislation and poor regulation in the financial sector,” said James Nix, policy director with An Taisce. “When it comes to protecting people from air pollution – particularly the very young and elderly – the fallout is even more stark.”

An Taisce has written to Environment Minister Phil hogan and Minister for Health James Reilly to ask them to ensure better air quality as part of Ireland’s presidency of the EU, as 2013 has been designated “The Year of Air”.

Between 80 and 97 per cent of the EU population living in urban areas are exposed to levels of pollution above the World Health Organisation’s guidelines for health protection.

Read: “It creeps menacingly”: When deadly smog choked Dublin’s skies >

Read: 17 ways your office job is destroying your body >

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