The government must put people’s health first and sign the nationwide smoky coal ban immediately, according to an expert in University College Cork.
John Sodeau, Emeritus Professor of Chemistry, at UCC was speaking after it emerged pollution has breached safe levels more often this year than in the whole of 2018 at most Irish air quality monitoring stations managed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
He said that the health of Irish citizens and the battle against climate change must come first, not legal niceties.
He added that people’s mentality must change and the public needs to realise this is a war to save the planet.
“The Department of Environment should start by signing the nationwide smoky coal ban immediately,” said professor Sodeau.
“The health of Irish citizens and climate change come first, not legal niceties.
Professor Sodeau said that air pollution data from Enniscorthy, which shows levels of pollutant similar to New Delhi, is “irrefutable”.
“The problem with the actions which this or any Government must take to combat the twin threats from air pollution and its partner climate change is that big changes in our lifestyles will have to take place.
“The answer is, unfortunately, higher taxes and closing down Moneypoint power station and driving electric cars and banning coal burning,” he added.
“That will hurt us all.
“Although we know the dangers associated with air pollution, because it attacks every cell in our bodies as well as destroying ecosystems, we simply do not want to carry the pain.
“That is why our mindset must change to one that is more appropriate to a wartime setting.
“In past wars, the public has been taxed, gone hungry and accepted discomfort.
“Make no mistake we are in World War III now.
It’s not against another country or aliens from Mars. It is against Earth’s defensive response to our technological progress.
“Action must be taken, there is no doubt about that.
“We must now pay for our inactions over the past 70 years since the last World War and we need to start now.”