NI 12th worst country for nature conservation: MEPs back new environmental legislation
A number of MEPs are backing a commitment to implement new legislation that will protect nature and improve public health in Northern Ireland.
It comes after research from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Natural History Museum showed that Northern Ireland is the 12th worst country out of 240 in terms of what research considers the amount of nature he has left.
About a quarter of the bird species here are threatened with extinction and only one of the 49 priority habitats is in good condition.
Air pollution is also a growing problem, as according to the British Heart Foundation it is associated with around 800 deaths in Northern Ireland each year.
Additional concerns have been raised about air quality linked to respiratory issues in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This week in Stormont, 31 MPs said they would pledge to meet legally binding targets for Northern Ireland, restore nature and ensure better environmental standards, including better air quality.
The event also brought together three charities – RSPB NI, Asthma UK and British Lung Foundation NI – who called on politicians to make the pledge.
Many MPs shared their experiences with the health issues they faced, as well as their constituents, including life-threatening conditions such as COPD and lung cancer, and Prime Minister Paul Givan shared his own experiences of living with asthma.
SDLP MP Dolores Kelly, who co-sponsored the event alongside John Blair MLA and Steve Aiken MLA, said it “was particularly timely in the run-up to COP26, where our world leaders will have the chance to recommit to tackling these problems and safeguarding our planet for future generations â.
COP26 is the 26th United Nations climate change conference. It is scheduled to be held in the city of Glasgow, Scotland, from October 31 to November 12 of this year.
Ms. Kelly will also present her biodiversity bill to the Assembly in the coming weeks.
“Everyone has a role to play in tackling the climate crisis and the benefits will be felt throughout society,” added the MP for Upper Bann.
âWe also need to take action to protect not only ourselves, but nature and our environment. We are currently facing a biodiversity crisis, with many animals and plants threatened with extinction without urgent action.
âBy working together to tackle climate issues, we can reduce carbon emissions, which would reduce air pollution and lead to less harmful respiratory problems for our people. We see hundreds of deaths a year in the North as a direct result of these diseases, so this is not an issue to be taken lightly. “
Joanne Sherwood, Director of RSPB Northern Ireland, commented: âHealth and nature are intrinsically linked – we are all part of nature and restoring and protecting nature is one of the best strategies to tackle the problem. climate change, protect from extreme weather conditions, generate green jobs and create a positive future for all.
âMPs have the opportunity to define ambitious new laws, provide adequate funding and support practical conservation actions to achieve this. “