23 January 2020
By Bryan Smyth
The Green Party in Cork has called for an increase in air pollution monitoring stations on the northside of the city
A series of “indicative” monitoring equipment has been installed across Cork by Cork City Council in collaboration with UCC. These are calibrated against high-quality “reference” EPA stations. However, no reference stations are in place on the north side of the city.
Air quality in Cork was recorded was being “very poor” again yesterday at the indicative Heatherton Park station near the South Link Road.
Speaking this week, Green Party councillor and candidate in Cork North Central, Oliver Moran, said:
“There are may reasons for the increase in poor air quality, which during periods of still, cold weather. This is when there is a ten-fold spike in pollution from home fuel burning, with no wind to disperse the polluted air.
“We heard last week at the Climate Action Committee that Cork City Council are actively seeking locations for indicative monitoring stations across the city in collaboration with UCC. The locations will need to be in a suitable site with access to electricity and WiFi. However, these need to be backed up with an EPA-supplied reference unit, of which there are currently none on the north side of the city.”
The city’s Environment Committee heard from UCC’s Prof. John Wenger on the topic of air pollution. The committee heard of the possibility of voluntary “no-burn nights” in Cork, where households with electric, oil and gas central heating systems would be asked not to light solid fuel fires in a bid to reduce air pollution.
The committee was shown how 50% of air pollution during colder months is from home heating, virtually all of which is attributed to coal, peat and wood fires.
“Without air monitoring stations we won’t know how bad the air quality is on parts of the northside, and without that information we won’t know how best to effectively tackle it” Councillor Moran concluded.