EPA urges people not to burn household waste on bonfires

By David Tucker

Published 28/10/2015 | 11:27

A bonfire burning.
A bonfire burning.

the EPA is asking households and businesses in Wexford to help maintain Ireland's high air quality standards and not to damage the air in surrounding towns and villages during their Halloween celebrations.

Air pollution can seriously damage people's health, particularly those suffering from respiratory disease and aliments such as asthma.

Commenting on air quality at Halloween, the Environmental Protection Agency's Scientific Officer Martin Doyle said celebrating Halloween should not be used as an opportunity to burn household waste on bonfires.

'Burning of household waste either in the open (backyard burning) or in domestic fires is illegal and can emit highly toxic substances into the air, which can stay in the environment for years.

'Many Wexford residents and local businesses may also not realise it is illegal to store or gather waste for bonfires. The stockpiling of waste could lead to a court appearance and fines of up to €3000. Let's celebrate Halloween this year by making sure everyone can enjoy the night of ghouls and ghosts by keeping Wexford air clean.'

Real-time air quality results for Wexford are available on the EPA website at www.airquality.epa.ie. Results are updated hourly on the website, and Wexford residents can log on at any time to check whether the current air quality in their locality is good, fair or poor.

Wexford residents can also view the Air Quality Index for Health via http://www.epa.ie/air/quality/index. The Air Quality Index for Health represents current air quality across the country on a colour coded map of Ireland. The Index is divided into 4 bands: Good; Fair; Poor and Very poor, with health advice provided for each band. A related Twitter feed @EPAAirQuality sends regular updates daily.

The EPA said backyard burning and unauthorised bonfires should be reported to your local authority. Residents in Wexford can contact Wexford Local Authority directly, phone the lo-call National Environmental Complaints Line: 1850 365 121 or use the See it? Say it! iPhone app.

Any pollution incident from backyard burning, flytipping, water pollution, odours and littering can be reported by using the iPhone App or by phoning the complaints line. Using the App you can take a photograph of the pollution incident, input GPS location coordinates, add a summary description of what you want to convey and your contact details and this will automatically be sent to the relevant local authority for follow up.

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