A report on fossil fuels on RTE’s Prime Time this evening has sparked an online debate as the ban on the sale of smokey coal looms.
The special report focused on the fact that updated standards for domestic solid fuels being sold in Ireland will be introduced nationwide from September this year.
This means that home-heating fuels which are deemed the most pollutant will no longer be available in shops.
The regulations are designed to slow air pollution and its impact on people’s health, as some health officials link tiny particles emitted by solid fuels to causing asthma, skin and lung diseases in the population.
Following the report, a conversation was sparked online and people were very much on two sides of the argument: some ‘for’ the changes and others entirely ‘against.’
Among the comments was one viewer, who wrote: “Apart from the health risks of smoky coal, it must not be forgotten the health risks of people being cold in their homes and the impact this has on their heart and respiratory system.
“So people need much more support to afford the more cleaner fuels.”
Another said: “What about those who are financially struggling and who can’t afford new, more expensive, but greener fuels?”
On the other side of the argument, one person said:“Great to see #rtept covering air pollution and smoky coal.
“Important to remember that whilst residential emissions account for only 14% of CO2 emissions, they account for over 40% of PM2.5 emissions.
“More retrofitting, less coal burning.”
Another person said: “The sooner we are rid of smoky coal the better. It can cause asthma, skin and autoimmune diseases and more.”
There has been fierce debate online about the incoming changes for months since an announcement from the Minister for the Environment, Eamon Ryan.