The Department of the Environment, together with local district councils, has put together the Northern Ireland Air Quality Report 2006, which shows details relating to air quality monitoring, long-term trends and air quality management information.

Monitoring took place at 41 automated sites across Northern Ireland, and only two district councils reported exceedances.

There were elevated levels of particulates and nitrogen dioxide at sites in Belfast and Newry, but no exceedances were recorded at government monitoring sites.

“The link between clean air and good health is well known,” said Environment Minister Arlene Foster.

“By reducing air pollution, we can reduce illness and premature death. Clean air is essential to our health and well-being.

“I am therefore pleased to report that the quality of our air in Northern Ireland has improved considerably over the last few decades, and much has been achieved through implementation of tighter controls over emissions of harmful pollutants from industry, transport and domestic sectors.”

She added that the government is continuing to fund the improvement of local air quality.

Steps that individuals can take to reduce air pollution include avoiding using the car for short journeys. Road vehicles are a major source of air pollution in towns and cities.

Ben Meggeson

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