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Cars "harm city asthma sufferers"

Asthma sufferers in Belfast are experiencing worse symptoms than other people in the UK because of the level of traffic congestion in the city, campaigners claim.

More than 65% of patients believe vehicle fumes can bring on an attack, and the Green Party fears an increasing reliance on car travel will only exacerbate the situation in Northern Ireland.

Around 150,000 people in the province are affected by asthma, including 35,000 children.

Leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland, Dr John Barry, said: "Most of those who suffer from asthma or bronchitis as a result of cars don't actually drive or own them and that is of concern.

"Belfast is the most car-dependent city in Europe and this is both unsustainable and uneconomical."

The charity Asthma UK has claimed that hospital admission rates are above those seen in the UK, and warned that 44 people die from the condition in the province every year.

A spokeswoman said: "We support any plan of action to reduce pollutants and a lot of people tell us that it is a trigger for them.

"In terms of research there's a strong link between asthma and children living on major routes."

The Falls Road in west Belfast suffers long tailbacks, and campaigners have been calling for a light rail route to serve the area in a bid to reduce the level of air pollution.

Green Party in Northern Ireland

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