Green solid fuels contributing to 'extraordinarily high levels of air pollution', report finds

Dublin's air pollution levels have been found to breach healthy standards.

Researchers at NUI Galway looked at a two-month period between November 2016 and January 2017.

They found the recorded pollution levels breached the World Health Organisation's limits every one in five days.

During the late evenings, hourly levels were frequently ten times the recommended guidelines.

Researchers say most of the high levels were down to peat and wood burning during colder winter nights.

AEROSOURCE, the first national air pollution network of its kind, attributed 70% of the extraordinarily-high pollution levels during these events to peat and wood burning, despite only a small percentage of residential homes using peat or wood as a primary fuel type (13% based on the closest census data).

Professor Colin O’Dowd, Director of NUI Galway’s Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies, said: “The disproportionate sensitivity of air pollution levels to solid fuel, including climate-friendly ‘low-carbon’ solid biomass fuel is quite concerning since fuels like wood are one of the most popular choices of ‘low carbon’ biomass fuel and consumption of this fuel type is set to double across Europe by 2020 (from 2016), and to triple globally by 2030.

“The results from this study suggest that along with promoting low-carbon or carbon-neutral solid fuels, it is especially important to fully consider the health impact from any associated air pollution emission.”

Digital Desk

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