Stay warm and protect the environment and your health this winter

As the winter season approaches the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA ) is asking Mayo householders to consider taking some simple measures when heating their homes this winter. These steps will minimise the impact of home heating on air quality and on Mayo people’s health.

Sharon Cameron, environment awareness officer with Mayo County Council, said: “As the evenings begin to draw in, we are all thinking of stocking up on winter fuel to warm our homes. We encourage all residents to follow the Environmental Protection Agency’s excellent tips on fuel choices this winter. In doing so you will heat your home more efficiently and help reduce harmful air pollution.”

A gas boiler or an oil boiler is a clean and energy efficient means of heating a home, though open fires and stoves are still a popular means of home heating in Ireland. To protect air quality, many areas across the country now have a ban on the sale and use of smoky coal and residents in these areas are obliged to burn only smokeless fuels. Residents in other locations outside these ban areas should also consider using smokeless coal to minimise their impact on the local environment. There is a range of clean innovative smokeless solid fuel products available on the market which are cleaner and which deliver improved air quality and human health benefits.

Dr Ian Marnane of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement said: “Pollution from poor home heating practices such as burning unseasoned timber or waste can have a significant impact on air quality in local areas, with associated health impacts particularly for sensitive groups such as children, the elderly, and people with existing health problems.”

Dr Marnane added:“Waste should be disposed of properly and not burned in an open fire or solid fuel stove. Burning waste is illegal as burning materials such as plastics and magazines results in harmful toxic pollutants which can impact on air quality both within your house and in your immediate neighbourhood. Apart from the potential air quality and health effects, burning waste can also result in damage to stoves and chimneys.”

Ian Marnane also reminded Mayo householders to consider insulating their homes. He said: “In order to minimise your heating requirements, look to insulate your home. Grants are available from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland for various energy efficiency improvements from attic insulation to boiler upgrades and will make a difference to your heating bill.”

 

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