Air Pollutants

Leagtar amach sna Rialacháin um Cháilíocht an Aeir, 2011 na luachanna teorann do gach ceann de na truailleáin ar a ndéanann Comhairle Cathrach Bhaile Átha Cliath monatóireacht.

These include sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO) and particulates. Click here for the Air Quality Standards 2011

Data for sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide results are collected on a continuous basis and are edited monthly.

Particulates (PM2.5 & PM10) are monitored on 16 day cycles. After each cycle, filters are collected, weighed and the results calculated.

The real-time results of monitoring can be seen on the EPA website.

Pollutants and their effects

Sulphur Dioxide (SO2)

The main source of SO2 in Dublin is space heating from residential and industrial premises.

Health and environmental effects

There are a number of health effects associated with exposure to high levels of SO2, including breathing problems and worsening respiratory and cardiovascular disease. People with asthma, or chronic lung disease or heart disease are the most sensitive to SO2. SO2 along with Nitrogen Dioxide is a precursor of acid rain. It is therefore responsible for acidification of lakes and streams and accelerated corrosion of buildings.

Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)

NO2 is a gas produced from the burning of fossil fuels in vehicles, industrial plant, power plants and other commercial and residential sources that burn fuel.

Health and Environmental effects

NO2 irritates the lungs and lowers resistance to respiratory infection, especially for those already suffering with breathing difficulties e.g. asthma, bronchitis. Like SO2, NO2 is a precursor of acid rain and causes the acidification of lakes and streams and the accelerated corrosion of buildings.

Carbon Monoxide (CO)

Carbon Monoxide is colourless, odourless gas produced during the incomplete combustion of fuels. The main source of environmental Carbon Monoxide is motor traffic.

Health and environmental effects

CO interferes with the distribution of oxygen in the blood to the rest of the body. Depending on the level of exposure, the symptoms include fatigue, headache, disorientation, nausea and dizziness. These symptoms are similar to that of flu or food poisoning so CO poisoning may prove difficult to diagnose. However, it has the potential to kill or poison in high levels, especially in poorly ventilated premises.

Particulate Matter (PM10)

Health and environmental effects

The main sources of particulate matter (PM) are vehicles, dust from construction sites, construction equipment and any crushing and grinding operations. Indoors, the main sources are tobacco smoke, wood burning stoves, fireplaces and other home-heating sources.

When inhaled, the particles can evade the body’s natural defence system and lodge in the lungs. Symptoms of exposure include a sore throat, persistent cough, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest pain. Depending on exposure, PM can increase the number of asthma attacks experienced by asthma sufferers and aggravate the symptoms of bronchitis. Children, the elderly and those already suffering with breathing difficulties are at greatest risk from exposure to PM.

Contact Details

Waste Management and Environment

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