Diesel fumes linked to thousands of deaths

An Taisce claims 3,400 Irish people die each year from poor air quality

Diesel fumes from cars, buses and trucks contribute to Ireland’s poor standard of air quality. Photo: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Diesel fumes from cars, buses and trucks contribute to Ireland’s poor standard of air quality. Photo: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Tue, Apr 9, 2013, 12:01

Poor air quality caused by fumes from diesel cars, buses and trucks in Ireland contributes to about 3,400 premature deaths in Ireland each year, according to An Taisce.

The environmental protection group claims there is a European total of 420,000 premature deaths and up to €790 billion in economic costs due to poor air quality.

An Taisce estimated the 3,400 deaths in Ireland on the basis that the country has 0.8 per cent of the EU population.

An Taisce revealed the figure in a letter to Minister for Health James Reilly and Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan, in which the organisation asked them to use Ireland’s EU presidency to deliver better air quality in Europe.

The EU air pollution figures are frighteningly high according to An Taisce’s policy director James Nix.

“We're fully familiar with the consequences of weak legislation and poor regulation in the financial sector; when it comes to protecting people from air pollution - particularly the very young and elderly - the fallout is even more stark,” Mr Nix said.

While progress in Ireland is being made, Mr Nix said Ireland is still in breach of EU law because of traffic-induced nitrogen oxides, which are implicated in asthma and other respiratory conditions.