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81% of people believe that Dublin has a problem with air pollution – Asthma Society

The Asthma Society of Ireland has launched their #OwnOurAir Campaign, Clean Air campaign aiming to make the air we breathe cleaner and safer for the people of Ireland.

The #OwnOurAir campaign was launched with an ‘on-street’ awareness event on Pearse Street to help people understand the importance of clean air. The Clean Air campaign will last until December 2019, and will include public awareness events, research into how to improve Ireland’s air quality and advocacy work with key environment decision-makers in Ireland.

In a survey (161 respondents total) conducted on the Friday 12th July on Pearse Street (22 respondents), and online from Friday 12th July to Sunday 14th July (139 respondents):

  • 81% believed that Dublin had a problem with air pollution
  • 38% were surprised that Pearse Street had recently breached the EU limits for nitrogen dioxide, according to the EPA
  • 93% of respondents said that they were aware that air pollution could be a trigger for asthma and other respiratory conditions

Members of the public with asthma were also offered free Peak Flow and/or FeNo testing in Genomics Medicine Ireland’s research clinic on Pearse Street, Dublin and a free asthma management pack.

Pearse Street was chosen for the destination of the launch as a recent report released by the EPA, which accessed Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) levels across Dublin, revealed its NO2 levels to be the highest in the city[1].

Speaking at the #OwnOurAir launch, Sarah O’Connor, CEO of the Asthma Society said, “In asthma, avoiding triggers is a key part of asthma management. However, this is challenging with airborne triggers such as traffic pollution and smoke which are ever-present in the environment. Pollution from motor vehicles, industrial plants, domestic solid fuels and other sources is bad for everyone’s health but it has a particularly negative impact on people with asthma, as air pollution is absorbed into the sinus, the airways and the lungs, triggering asthma symptomsOur #OwnOurAir campaign aims to make the air for people less polluted by achieving key legislative and environmental policy changes and by building engagement and behaviour change among members of the public in respect to air pollution.”

Key initiatives to tackle air pollution, as advocated by members of the public who completed the #OwnOurAir campaign survey:

  • Reducing transport emissions
  • Increasing public transport usage and making public transport less polluting to our air
  • Making public transport free for all users
  • Extending the ban on smoky coal to all areas in the country
  • Creating smoke-free environments and reducing emissions from industrial sources
  • Improving indoor air quality by reducing solid fuel dependence for home heating
  • Better public understanding of air quality as an issue

Air pollution is a danger to every member of the population and is considered to be the cause and aggravating factor for many serious respiratory diseases such as asthma, COPD and lung cancer.  For further information on how to improve our air quality in Ireland and to support the campaign, the general public is being asked to visit www.asthma.ie/cleanair.

Air quality was recently described by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the world’s largest single environmental health risk, and Ireland is no exception to this problem. While Ireland is largely within the EU limits for air pollution, it fairs poorly when measured against the WHO guidelines for emissions.

To find our more about your asthma/COPD triggers and how you can reduce your asthma/COPD symptoms (including air pollution), the Asthma Society runs a free Asthma and COPD Adviceline which users can call on 1800 44 54 64 to learn more about managing their condition(s).

The patient event was supported by Circassia who provided a NIOX® FeNO testing unit to the Asthma Society and by Genomics Medicine Ireland who facilitated the testing at their research clinic on Pearse Street. The Clean Air campaign is supported by funding from the ESB Energy for Generations fund, Dyson, Toyota and CPL Fuels.

EPA Report on Air Quality in Dublin: https://www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/air/quality/Urban_Environmental_Indicators_2019.pdf

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