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Air pollution from traffic decreased by up to 50% in some urban areas in 2020




According to a new report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), traffic air pollution levels fell by up to 50% in some urban areas last year.

Due to ovid-19 restrictions and reduced traffic, the amount of harmful pollutants produced has dramatically decreased compared to the previous year.

Nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide gas concentrations – – Harmful to respiratory health – – It increased after withdrawal from the first blockade in June 2020, but was still below expected levels for the year.

However, Ireland exceeded the World Health Organization (WHO) air quality guidelines for emissions from the burning of solid fuels such as coal, peat and wood.

According to the EPA’s Air Quality Report, these emission levels were above recommended in 38 of 67 monitoring stations due to the burning of solid fuel for home heating.

This problem was more common in smaller cities, towns and villages than in big cities such as Dublin and Cork.

Emissions from burning solid fuels are the number one cause of Irish air quality deterioration and cause an estimated 1,300 premature deaths annually.

The EPA states that the level of this pollutant, known as particulate matter, is “increasing concern” during the winter when the use of solid fuels such as coal, turf and wood adversely affects air quality. Especially high.

Pat Byrne, EPA Program Manager, said: There are health benefits associated with air quality.

Although traffic pollution reductions were welcomed, Dr. Michelle Lehein, director of the EPA’s Environmental Monitoring Office, told people that “it is clear between our travel choices and the levels of air pollutants from traffic. Don’t lose sight of the association. “

“Pollutants from traffic have a negative impact on people’s health, and our actions as individuals affect the air we breathe,” he added.

According to recent figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), traffic volumes have not yet returned to pre-Covid-19 levels, but 2021 traffic levels are not very low.

In 2019, the EU’s air quality restrictions on nitrogen dioxide recorded in Dublin were exceeded, primarily due to heavy traffic.

The four local governments in the capital need to develop an action plan by the end of the year to address this issue.

Monitoring and modeling by EPAs shows that if a country returns to typical transport patterns and modes, excesses will occur in more locations in the future.

The report includes proposed increases in the use of electric vehicles and related infrastructure, outlined in the Government’s Climate Action Plan (2019), as well as cleaner public transport, improved bicycle infrastructure, and more pedestrian roads. Seeking a modal shift to.

WHO describes poor air quality as “the world’s greatest environmental hygiene threat,” killing 7 million people worldwide each year.




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