Air pollution is responsible for an estimated 1,180 premature deaths in Ireland each year, according to a new report from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Publishing its annual air quality report to mark World Lung Day, the EPA said it is increasingly concerned about rising levels of pollution.

It said that while Ireland's air quality complies with legally-binding European Union standards, it does not meet health-related guidelines set out by the World Health Organization.

The EPA wants the Government to do more to tackle what it says are the two most problematic pollutants - particulate matter from the burning of solid fuels, and nitrogen dioxide from transport emissions in urban areas.

The agency says a move towards cleaner ways of heating our homes would significantly improve air quality in towns and cities.

The EPA believes that Ireland will probably exceed EU legal limits for nitrogen dioxide in the near future.


Read in full: Air Quality in Ireland Report


According to the WHO, air pollution accounts for an estimated 4.2 million deaths globally each year, due to stroke, heart disease, lung cancer and chronic respiratory illnesses.

The Asthma Society of Ireland (ASI) is also marking World Lung Day, by highlighting the 'potentially devastating consequences' of air pollution on public health.

It says an estimated 8,200 deaths have been prevented in Dublin since the smoky coal ban was introduced in the capital in 1990. The society is repeating calls for the ban to be rolled out nationwide.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, ASI chief executive Sarah O'Connor said extending the ban would have a significant positive impact for patients who suffer from asthma, respiratory, heart and infertility conditions.

The organisation says Ireland has one of the highest asthma hospitalisation rates in western Europe.

Deaths from the condition are also increasing - up from 44 fatalities in 2010 to 63 deaths in 2016.