Councillor calls for Cork residents to be alerted when air quality drops

Councillor calls for Cork residents to be alerted when air quality drops
Data released by the real-time air pollution monitoring website 'PurpleAir' showed that Cork again had the worst air pollution in Europe on yesterday evening at a rate of 408 out of 500 on their pollution scale. Photo: John Giles/PA Wire

GREEN Party councillor for Cork North Central, Cllr. Oliver Moran has called for more awareness of air pollution monitoring across the city, following shocking levels of pollution detected yesterday evening. 

Data released by the real-time air pollution monitoring website 'PurpleAir' showed that Cork again had the worst air pollution in Europe yesterday evening at a rate of 408 out of 500 on their pollution scale. 

Mr Moran, who recently called for more monitoring stations to be installed on the northside of the city, said Cork City Council needed to do more to alert residents when there are spikes in air pollution.

"After spending my evening canvassing, I could actually feel the effects of poor air quality yesterday, when the spike was at its worst. 

"But I’m not the person hurt the most by the issue, it’s young children, the elderly, and the vulnerable who feel the consequences of this problem," he said.

"We need to implement more real-time air quality monitors, and we also need systems in place to alert people when air quality drops like it did yesterday. 

"This is especially needed on cold evenings when the air is still and pollution from home fires and traffic just hangs there," Mr Moran continued.

Last month, Cork City Council moved to allay fears surrounding reports of high levels of air pollution in Cork. 

The council stated that the PurpleAir monitors' accuracy is still being tested and that Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) air quality monitoring stations, give a more accurate representation of air pollution. In a statement they said:

"The data from the particulate matter units are intended for use as indicators of air quality only and provide a trend for the data. 

"Together with air quality specialists in UCC, the City Council is currently evaluating the accuracy of these sensors.

"Early data received indicates that under certain atmospheric conditions the purple air sensors are significantly over-estimating the particulate matter count. 

"These sensors will continue to be evaluated throughout 2020 to ascertain if a correction factor needs to be applied to the data going forward."

There are a total of four real-time EPA air quality monitors in Cork and a further 45 throughout the country. 

The Green Party manifesto calls for an expansion of this system, and for an immediate nationwide ban on smokey coal among other measures to tackle the problem.

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