There is no doubt that climate change is one of the single biggest challenge facing us all now and we must take steps to try and deal with the ongoing affects. The decisions we make now in tackling climate change will define the next century.
Climate change and air quality are closely linked: air pollutants linked to fossil fuel consumption can impact air quality likewise Ireland relies on greenhouse gas emitting imported fossil fuels to meet over 88% of our energy needs at a cost of €12 million a day. Four people a day die from poor air quality in this country and one in five children have asthma, for further information please see www.asthma.ie.
In 2013 the European Environment Agency estimated that that in the region of 1,600 premature deaths were attributable to fine particulate matter and other air pollutants in Ireland. In addition, estimates indicate that air pollution has health-related costs in Ireland of over € 2 billion per year; including the loss of 382,000 workdays per year www.dccae.gov.ie/Air-Quality-Overview.
Communities and Tidy Towns can play a vital role in raising awareness of the importance of clean air for people's health and the environment, and provide a community voice to highlight the need to address local sources of air pollution. Awareness of how air quality impacts our health and the environment may lead people to make different choices when it comes to the fuel that they use or the number of car journeys that they make. We want to see how communities will contribute towards helping Ireland lower its emissions.