Limerick City and County Council and the Health Service Executive have published a statement to remind the public that the distribution, marketing, sale and burning of bituminous coal known as ‘smoky’ coal is illegal in Limerick City and the surrounding hinterland.
“The burning of ‘smoky’ coal can result in severe smog in calm winter weather conditions which can have serious consequences for the very young, the elderly and those with respiratory conditions. From a population health perspective, diseases of the respiratory system are one of the leading causes of death both nationally and in the Mid-West (Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary), accounting for 1,894 deaths for the period 2013-2017.” the statement confirmed.
“If you sell or burn ‘smoky’ coal, you are potentially contributing to the creation of respiratory health issues for your neighbours, and your family and friends too. In light of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, it is also critical that levels of respiratory illness and hospital admissions be minimised as winter approaches.”
The statement also confirmed that there is ‘no evidence’ whatsoever to suggest that ‘smoky’ coal is in any way cheaper or warmer than low-smoke coal.
“Burning ‘smoky’ coal makes no economic, environmental or health sense. Low-smoke coal is widely available and can easily be identified as it is packed in bags marked with the following text ‘Approved Fuel – Contents comply with the Air Pollution Act Regulations”