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Northern Ireland will soon move forward on a clean air strategy that aims to make our air quality better, improve our health and wellbeing, reduce pollutants in the air we breathe and protect the environment.

Environment Minister Edwin Poots and Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon today marked International Clean Air Day with a commitment to work together and find ways to improve Northern Ireland’s air quality.

Speaking today, Minister Poots said: ‘Air pollution can have a serious effect on people's health. It also has negative impacts on our environment. I recognise this and that is why I am taking two significant steps in 2020 to address air pollution in Northern Ireland.

“On 7 May, I launched Northern Ireland’s first air quality app. The app gives the public instant up to date information on the air pollution levels across Northern Ireland. It also provides health advice on the impacts of air pollution and a five day air quality forecast so that people can make informed choices about their health.

“Secondly, in the coming weeks, I will be launching a Clean Air Strategy Discussion document. This is a tremendous step forward in the development of the first Clean Air Strategy for Northern Ireland. Work has involved close collaboration with other Departments, in particular, the Department for Infrastructure and I encourage engagement with my Department to exchange ideas on air quality issues and mitigation measures.”

Coordinated by Global Action Plan, Clean Air Day is the UK’s largest air pollution campaign. It seeks to bring together businesses, education and the health sector to increase awareness of the health impacts of air pollution, improve the understanding of air pollution and suggest actions that everyone can take to reduce air pollution.

The air quality app is available to download free of charge from both Android and Apple App stores and a link can be found on the Air Quality Northern website, available at https://www.airqualityni.co.uk/.

The app uses data from the air quality NI website and makes it more accessible to the public, particularly when on-the-go. A push notification service can also be set up to send a notification to the user’s mobile phone when levels of pollutants are elevated or forecast to be elevated. This information allows users to make informed decisions about their activities on days when air quality is poor.