One of the most air-polluted places on the planet is in Ireland

One of the most air-polluted places on the planet is in Ireland

According to a recently published article by Darragh Bermingham on, Cork is one of the most air-polluted places on the planet.

Real-time air quality monitoring in the southern county has found that parts of Cork have experienced "dangerous levels" of air pollution in recent days. Fine particulate matter (PM) levels of more than 430µg/m³ were records, which fall under the classification of 'hazardous'. As previously written here, 25µg/m³ is considered a safe level of particulate matter.

Professor in Physical and Environmental Chemistry at UCC, John Wenger, in contributing to the above-referenced article explained that weather conditions in Cork essentially make it more difficult for emissions (from burning coal, peat and wood) to disperse. He suggests that this attributes to the high levels recorded in certain parts of the county only. Professor John Wenger also states that Cork is not the only city experiencing these high levels at this time. There have also been reports of air pollution in London and other cities in Western Europe. He points out that the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) announced pollution warnings in London in the past week. In this context, it might be useful to compare these Cork statistics with other urban centres across Ireland and Europe, as set out in the following article:

There are many reasons why monitoring air quality is important for State and local authorities. One community-based reason is to issue appropriate public notices or warnings. With these air quality warnings in place, government departments may advise adults and children with any respiratory or cardiovascular problems (or those who experience symptoms), to limit outdoor physical exertion at this time.

This is not the first time Cork has been the subject of air quality warnings. Back in late 2019, it was announced that Cork has (or had, at the time of recording) the worst air quality in all of Europe.

In 2019, the World Health Organisation recognised air pollution as the greatest environmental risk to health. Microscopic pollutants in the air can damage a person's respiratory and cardiovascular system, causing harm to organs including the lungs, heart and brain. This is a contributory factor in up to seven million deaths per year globally from diseases such as cancer, lung disease, and heart disease. The article above points out that no one can escape the damage that these pollutants do to the inner workings of our bodies. It can lead to a decrease in life expectancy and in quality of life, that manifests in a whole range of illnesses from diabetes to lung cancer.

This is an increasingly topical global conversation and you can read more about the significance of air quality monitoring here:

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