Photo: Rodion Kutsaev

Air 'thick with pollution'

Residents should be advised when air quality drops in the city, in a similar manner to warnings about incoming floods.

That’s according to a motion, proposed to Cork City Council by Green Party councillor Oliver Moran who said he noticed thick air pollution levels during the festive period.

Cllr Moran continued: “Especially now during Covid, there are more people going for walks outdoors with their families. Over the Christmas period, I was out for a walk with my son and he noticed the air thick with pollution.

“I found my throat tickling too. Cork City Council has collaborated with UCC to place a network of air quality monitors across the city. I checked online when I got home and, sure enough, the air quality monitors showed it was worst where we had been walking.”

Cllr Moran said the monitors show a regular pattern of spikes in air pollution in early evening to do with the burning of solid fuel fires.

He continued: “At these times air quality in the city suburbs regularly drops to a degree rated 'poor' to 'very poor' on the European Air Quality Index. This means residents should consider avoiding outdoor activities, especially if they experience symptoms like sore eyes, a cough or a sore throat.

“I don't think a system of alerting residents should be seen as anything alarmist. It's about informing people to make decisions to go out at certain times or not. It also brings home that the need to find alternatives to solid fuel home heating isn't just related to climate action. It's about everyday health, like air quality, too.”

Real-time data from the Cork City Council/UCC network of air quality monitors can be see online at purpleair.com.

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