Wexford towns’ air quality under scrutiny

ENNISCORTHY looking across the River Slaney towards Vinegar Hill. (Pic; wexfordToday.com).

Brendan Cooney, Senior Executive Scientist with Wexford County Council has been addressing districts with information on Air Pollution with a particular emphasis on Wexford’s main towns.
Air Quality Monitoring is happening and there is evidence that PM10 and PM2.5 readings are elevated, the satisfying news is that they are below the present WHO (World Health Organisation) limits.
Mr Cooney told a recent meeting of Gorey district that there is only one designated smokeless zone in Co. Wexford, which is Wexford town.
Mr Cooney appeared before Enniscorthy Municipal District Council this week where he stated; “Ireland’s air quality is good by European standards, but it does not fare so well when measured against new WHO guidelines, according to the latest EPA State of the Environment report.”
Wexford County Council began air quality monitoring at Talbot Green, Wexford town, in late 2015.
A second air quality monitoring station was installed at Ard Mhichil, New Ross, in October 2016 and a third behind Enniscorthy Library went live in December 2017.
A fourth in Gorey went live last September and the plan is to have a fifth and final instrument installed in Bunclody during 2019.
Date collected is being utilised by the EPA as part of their EU obligations in having a national network of air quality monitoring stations and was instrumental in the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment in deciding to extend the existing smokeless zones to the whole county.
WHAT ARE PM10 and PM2.5?
Particle pollution, also called particle matter or PM, is the term for a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air.
There are many sources of particular matter including domestic solid fuel burning, diesel fuelled vehicle emissions, agriculture and natural sources such as sea salt and wind blown dust. These particles can penetrate the lungs and cause health effects. There are two main types;
PM10 (diameter less than 10um)
PM2.5(diameter less than 2.5um)
In Ireland, levels for both PM10 and PM2.5 are above the WHO air quality guidelines values.

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