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Friday 6 December 2019

Air pollution levels around Dublin are 'alarming'

(stock picture)
(stock picture)

A scientist has warned of alarming levels of air pollution around Dublin.

In RTE's 10 Things to Know About, on tonight, UCD's Fran- cesco Pilla tells how a citizen science project is using smart sensors to monitor air quality in and around the capital.

The sensors measure dirty air by gauging pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide given off by diesel cars.

"There are alarming figures in Dublin. With increasing traffic there are also increasing pollutants," Dr Pilla said.

In the show, he explains how pollution readings peak when trucks drive past the sensors.

RTE's flagship science show reveals that pedestrians and cyclists are most at risk from poor quality air.

However, members of the public using the sensors can take action to offset the bad air quality by planting trees or using low walls to block pollutants.

"What we're doing is deploying real intervention in real life situations," said Dr Pilla.

"Basically, that's pieces of urban infrastructure that could be low boundary walls, hedges or trees in fully functioning cities.

"They have an effect in the dispersion of pollutants.

"It's all about engaging the local communities. You don't want to enforce the solutions on people, you want them to actually be part of creating the solution themselves."

The Environmental Protection Agency has 57 air quality monitoring stations across the country which supply data to the Air Quality Index for Health.

In tonight's programme, presented by Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain, mum Aisling Bambury explains how poor air quality can affect her seven-year-old son Faolan, who has asthma.

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