WITH a smoky coal ban in place in Ennis since 2011, the Asthma Society is calling for support of an all-island ban that would see it extended to all of Clare.
In anticipation of an all-island ban, the Asthma Society has also launched its campaign for clean air, calling on householders across Clare to ‘be a lifesaver’ and burn smokeless coal or an alternative clean fuel to reduce asthma symptoms and save lives.
Niamh Kelly, Asthma Society of Ireland said, “With 470,000 people affected, Ireland has the fourth highest prevalence of asthma worldwide. The dangers of smoky coal on public health are well documented and it is also a commonly known asthma trigger. In advance of an all-island ban, we are calling on fuel consumers across Clare to burn smokeless coal or an alternative fuel, to reduce asthma symptoms and save lives.”
While many lives have been saved with the provincial bans, Dr Dermot Nolan of the Asthma Society of Ireland’s Medical Advisory Group, estimates that almost 2,000 lives could be saved annually with the implementation of an all-island ban on the sale and distribution of smoky coal.
“While we have made significant strides in recent years with many urban areas now covered by a smoky coal ban, until an all-island ban is implemented, policing these regional bans is difficult and hundreds of thousands of people still breathe pollutants from smoky coal every day.
“I see the effects of smoky coal on the most vulnerable in society on a daily basis- in particular patients of chronic lung diseases such as asthma. With the implementation of an all-island ban, we estimate that 2,000 lives would be saved each year,” he said.
A representative member survey conducted by the Asthma Society also revealed that poor air quality affects asthma in 78% of members and smoke from coal fire affects asthma in 55% of members. Furthermore, one in five Asthma Society members surveyed reported to have had an asthma attack as a result of breathing smoke from coal fire.