Thursday, July 21, 2022

Kenneth Fox

Not one Irish city was classified as having ‘good’ air quality, according to a recent report by an EU watchdog.

Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford’s air quality were ranked as ‘fair’ in the 2020/2021 European Environment Agency (EEA) report.

The report, which looks at levels of dust, soot and smoke, found Dublin was the best in the country, ranked 35th among all European cities examined.

Meanwhile, Waterford was the worst city in Ireland for air quality, coming in 130th place overall.

Galway city was not recorded as part of the report.

Cities are ranked from the cleanest to the most polluted based on average levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5).

The data behind the ranking was collected from over 400 monitoring stations across EEA member countries over the past two calendar years.

From 2020 to 2021, air quality was ranked as ‘good’ in just 11 cities, meaning the levels of PM2.5 were below the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) health-based guideline for long-term exposure to PM2.5 of 5 micrograms per cubic meter of air (5 μg/m3).

The guideline was exceeded in 97 per cent of the 343 European cities included in the study.

In contrast, the European Union’s (EU) annual limit value for PM2.5 of 25 µg/m3 was only exceeded in the three most polluted cities; Nowy Sacz in Poland, and Cremona and Padova in Italy, highlighting the difference between the WHO guideline and the EU’s standard.

The European city air viewer can be used to check how the air quality was in European cities over the past two years.

The viewer focuses on long-term concentrations of PM2.5, as long-term exposure to air pollution causes the most serious health effects, and PM2.5 is the air pollutant with the highest impact on health in terms of premature death and disease.

The cleanest cities in Europe in terms of air quality were Umeå in Sweden, and Faro and Funchal in Portugal according to the report.

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