Cork City Council works in partnership with the EPA's National Ambient Air Quality Network. This network is a series of air quality monitoring stations that are located across the country.
A summary of national ambient air quality is published by the EPA in an annual report, the most recent being Air Quality in Ireland 2019.
There are 4 air quality monitoring stations installed across Cork City Council's functional area as part of the National Ambient Air Quality Network:
In addition to this Cork City Council has procured a number of air quality sensors from PurpleAir and installed them at locations across the metropolitan area of Cork City. The sensors use laser particle counters to provide real time measurement of PM2.5 (Particulate Matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres).
Data from the air quality sensors is hosted on a specialised platform (Dashboard) corkairquality.ie.
This Dashboard has been created to display real-time air quality information for Cork City at the district level. The map shows the air quality at various locations across the city based on hourly average concentrations of PM2.5.
PM2.5is the air pollutant which is most harmful to public health. The measurements are obtained using Ireland’s first citywide network of low-cost PM2.5sensors, developed by Cork City Council in association with the Centre for Research into Atmospheric Chemistry, University College Cork.
The air quality dashboard is not an Air Quality Index for Health.
Please refer to www.airquality.ie for the Air Quality Index for Health (AQIH) with linked health advice to ascertain the overall air quality.
The corkairquality.ie dashboard displays real-time information on PM2.5and does not include the pollutants ozone, nitrogen dioxide, PM10 or sulphur dioxide.
The PM2.5 values displayed on the Dashboard are indicative; however, they are highly correlated with reference measurements and incorporate a robust correction factor. This correction factor is obtained by comparing the indicative sensor performance against reference instruments at the Air Quality Monitoring Station at University College Cork over a period of a year. The corrected values obtained using the PurpleAir sensors were accurate to within 2.5% of the reference measurements at the time of deployment. These correction values will be kept under periodic review.
The PM2.5 sensor network provides a cost-effective method for providing indicative information about air quality in different areas of the city and at different times of the day. Local, hourly averaged data is valuable for helping members of the public, including at risk groups, to reduce their exposure to outdoor air pollution. Air quality in Cork city, like elsewhere in Ireland, is broadly acceptable, but can deteriorate quickly during winter evenings as households burn solid fuel (peat, wood, coal) for heating.
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