Cobh To Get First Permanent Air Monitoring Unit In The County

By Seamus Whelehan


Cork County Council and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are to establish a permanent air quality monitoring station in Cobh.
The unit the first of its kind in the County will monitor pollution levels in the town.
The new monitoring station will continuously track changes in the presence of particulate matter in the air, presenting it through the Environmental Protection Agency’s website, so that people can see directly the quality of air that they are breathing.
Ireland is currently governed by two EU directives which cap the concentrations of a number of pollutants called PM10 and PM2.5, harmful matter suspended in the Earth's atmosphere.
Pm 2.5 can settle in the bronchi and lungs and cause health problems such as respiratory and cardio vascular disease.
Located near the Aura Leisure Centre, the unit will be operational from next month and will monitor levels of total dust Pm10 and pm2.5.
According to a study by the World Health Organisation (WHO) Ireland falls below its strict guidelines on air pollutants.
Despite being one of the most important industrial areas in the country, a major player in the international pharmaceutical arena and home to a population of 44,000, Cork harbour has never had a permanent ambient air monitoring station, until now.
It’s expected a second unit located close to the Old Town Hall, will be operational within the next twelve months.
A study published by the European respiratory Journal earlier in 2016 found that babies born to mothers exposed to air pollution from traffic sources during pregnancy have an increased risk of developing asthma before the age of 5 years.
The research carried out in Canada is one of the largest studies to look at the role of variation in air pollution in urban areas and the development of asthma.
The EPA reported itself last week that Ireland’s emissions are going in the wrong direction for people to benefit from clean air.
The environmental protection agency discovered that in 2016 three of five important air pollutants had increased- ammonia, nitrogen oxides and non-methane volatile organic compounds.
At present the EPA have 31 monitoring sites across the country, 15 of which are active.
Only 3 of these stations are capable of providing real-time concentrations of particulate matter.
Two stations are located in County Clare, one in Ennis a further one in Claremorris, and a third in Rathmines in Dublin.
There are two monitoring stations in Cork located close to the former Kinsale Road landfill site. Only one of these measure PM2.5 in real time.