WED en­cour­ages global ac­tion on the en­vi­ron­ment

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - LIFESTYLE - JIM HUR­LEY’S

TO­MOR­ROW, Wed­nes­day June 5, is World En­vi­ron­ment Day, the United Na­tion’s prin­ci­pal ve­hi­cle for en­cour­ag­ing aware­ness and ac­tion for the pro­tec­tion of our shared global en­vi­ron­ment. Since it be­gan in 1972, it has grown to be­come the sin­gle largest cel­e­bra­tion of our en­vi­ron­ment each year.

Each year, World En­vi­ron­ment Day has a dif­fer­ent theme that fo­cuses at­ten­tion on a par­tic­u­larly press­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cern. This year, the theme is air pol­lu­tion and the spe­cial day is hosted by China. Gov­ern­ments, in­dus­try, com­mu­ni­ties, and in­di­vid­u­als are all en­cour­aged to come to­gether to ex­plore re­new­able en­ergy and green tech­nolo­gies and im­prove air qual­ity in ci­ties and re­gions across the world.

Ap­prox­i­mately 7 mil­lion peo­ple world­wide die pre­ma­turely each year from air pol­lu­tion, with about 4 mil­lion of these deaths oc­cur­ring in Asia-Pa­cific.

China with its grow­ing green en­ergy sec­tor, has emerged as a cli­mate leader. The coun­try owns half the world’s elec­tric ve­hi­cles and 99 per­cent of the world’s elec­tric buses. By host­ing World En­vi­ron­ment Day 2019, the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment will be able to show­case its in­no­va­tion and progress to­ward a cleaner en­vi­ron­ment.

China has demon­strated tremen­dous lead­er­ship in tack­ling air pol­lu­tion do­mes­ti­cally. It can now help spur the world to greater ac­tion and lead the push for global ac­tion to save mil­lions of lives.

The es­tab­lished facts paint a bleak pic­ture: 92 per cent of peo­ple world­wide do not breathe clean air. Air pol­lu­tion costs the global econ­omy $5 tril­lion ev­ery year in wel­fare costs. Ground-level ozone pol­lu­tion is ex­pected to re­duce sta­ple crop yields by 26 per cent by 2030.

Ac­cord­ing to our En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency (EPA), air qual­ity in Ire­land is gen­er­ally of a high stan­dard across the coun­try and is amongst the best in Europe; how­ever, lev­els of some pol­lu­tants re­main of con­cern, with those pro­duced by traf­fic ap­proach­ing limit val­ues in ur­ban cen­tres.

Do­mes­tic solid fuel use is the other main source of air pol­lu­tion in Ire­land and par­tic­u­larly im­pacts air qual­ity in ar­eas where the sale of bi­tu­mi­nous coal is per­mit­ted. As a re­sult, air pol­lu­tion from the burn­ing of solid fuel can be of a greater con­cern in smaller towns in Ire­land.

Each year the EPA pro­duces an air qual­ity re­port. The cur­rent EPA air qual­ity re­port and all pre­vi­ous re­ports can be down­loaded at http://www.epa.ie/pubs/re­ports/air/qual­ity/

On World En­vi­ron­ment Day Gov­ern­ments, in­dus­try, com­mu­ni­ties, and in­di­vid­u­als will be en­cour­aged to come to­gether to ex­plore re­new­able en­ergy and green tech­nolo­gies and im­prove air qual­ity in ci­ties and re­gions across the world.

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