INCREASED levels of air pollution have been recorded following the return of schools this week in Cork, fuelling calls for parents to reduce their car usage.
An air monitoring station in Cobh recorded an increase in the level of air pollution this week, coinciding with the reopening of schools in the area following the summer holidays.
UCC Chemistry Professor, John Sodeau, explained that real-time air monitoring results at some Cork locations are available from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
“For the eagle-eyed and as a taster, the Cobh site does show an increase in particulate matter in the region coinciding with the start of school term this last week,” he said.
“More results are needed and the measurement equipment is not always set up outside a school - although it is close by to one in Cobh - but it is a start to show parents that they should get the kids to walk or bike to school, wherever it is safe to do so,” he added.
Professor Sodeau explained that schools are often “hotspots” for toxic air pollutants emitted from car, truck and bus exhausts.
“One of the hotspots here in Ireland and throughout the world is outside schools at drop-off and pick-up times because of combustion engine idling,” he said.