Air pollution in Waterford over seven times higher than WHO recommended levels
Air pollution levels in Waterford are more than seven times higher than World Health Organisation recommended average levels.
The worrying revelation comes as the Government last week decided not to proceed with a nationwide ban on smoky coal following legal threats from three companies outside the State.
Instead, the Government will extend the ban to 13 more towns amid concerns that local bans are not working or being properly enforced.
Last week air quality in Ireland deteriorated in several towns where smoky coal bans are already in place.
Waterford had the second largest levels of fuel-related particulate matter (PM10) emissions in the country at over 370 micro-grammes per metre cubed, behind Letterkenny in county Donegal, which recorded 580 micro-grammes per metre cubed.
To put this in context, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends average levels of PM 10 to 50 micro-grammes per metre cubed over 24 hours.
In an interview with the Business Post, Professor John Wenger of the atmospheric chemistry lab at University College Cork (UCC) said the pollution was clearly linked to the burning of solid fuels in homes.
He said the figures show “that the ban in its current form is clearly not working”, adding: “The health of the public is at risk.”