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Traffic clogging up our claim to high-quality air

IRISH air quality is among the best in Europe but traffic congestion and burning of smoky coal continue to pose problems.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said that while our air met all EU standards, problems remained in Dublin and Cork city centres because of high volumes of traffic.

But it said a government decision this year to extend the ban on burning smoky coal to towns with populations of more than 15,000 people would result in improvements.

"We welcome the findings of this report which show Ireland's air quality is generally of a high standard, but we recognise also that Ireland faces a number of challenges to meet our EU obligations," EPA director Micheal O'Cinneide said.

"We welcome the new legislation which introduces, for the first time, a prohibition on the burning of smoky coal, which complements the existing ban on its marketing, sale and distribution. Air quality is so important to the health of our citizens, and we hope that these new regulations will assist in maintaining Ireland's good standard."

The EPA report 'Air Quality In Ireland 2011' says quality is good because of Atlantic airflows, relatively few large cities and a lack of heavy industry.

Irish Independent