Pollution in Dublin 'alarming', says UCD scientist

Pollution in Dublin 'alarming', says UCD scientist

A top scientist says there are alarming levels of air pollution around Dublin.

In RTÉ’s 10 Things to Know About, UCD’s Francesco Pilla, reveals how a new citizen science project is using smart sensors to monitor air quality around Dublin.

The sensors people in the community to measure dirty air by gauging pollutants like nitrogen dioxide given off by diesel cars as they walk around the capital.

Dr Pilla said the Irish weather can give a misleading impression of the quality of the air.

“Even if you see a lot of rain, a lot of wind you think that the air is super clear it is not”, he said.

There are alarming figures in Dublin. With increasing traffic there are also increasing pollutants.

The coordinator revealed the iScape project, which engages the public in taking action against poor air quality, is running in six cities including Dublin.

“The aim of the project is improving the smart control of air pollution in European cities.”

In the show, he explained how pollution peaks when trucks whizz by the sensor.

RTÉ’s flagship science show revealed pedestrians and cyclists are most at risk from the poor quality air which can led to health problem.

But with the project members of the public using the sensors can take action to offset the bad air quality by planting tree or using low walls to block the pollutants.

“What we are doing is deploying real intervention in real-life situations so basically pieces of urban infrastructure that could be low-boundary walls, hedges, tree in fully functioning cities and see the effect that they have in the dispersion of pollutants," said Dr. Pilla

“We are using a living lab approach which is about engaging the citizens in the deployment of the solution and getting them to monitor them with our low cost sensors.

“(We) to engage them in our co-design activities

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

At present the Environmental Protection Agency have 57 air quality monitoring stations across the country which supply data into the Air Quality Index for Health.

In the show, Cork mother Aisling Bambury explains how poor air quality can affect her seven-year-old Faolan who has asthma.

“It has to be linked with air quality, we’re really conscious of it because we see how it affect Faolan," she said.

“We would know if we’re rushing through town and it’s a still day you can smell the diesel fumes and you can it straight away affect Faolan.

It starts at home. There are little children walking to and from school who might be caught up just over diesel cars.

“If we can do anything at all to help, we should.”

- 10 Things to know about will be shown on RTÉ One on Monday at 8.30pm

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