One thousand volunteers step up to test the capital’s air quality


Talbot Street in Dublin is a bustling assortment of city life where noise radiates from every inch of footpath and smells waft from a feast of eateries.

ow we are going to find out if there’s something else in the air – pollution.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and An Taisce want to find out how prevalent is nitrogen dioxide (NO2), the damaging gas that comes mainly from cars, trucks and buses.

One thousand volunteers all over Dublin have been issued with an NO2 test kit and the Irish Independent’s office on Talbot Street is part of the experiment.

The volunteers have attached an NO2 detecting test tube to a road-facing window of their home or workplace and in a month’s time, will return them to the EPA for analysis.

The results will provide the most comprehensive picture ever of the city’s NO2 hotspots and clear zones.

The EPA has some permanent air quality monitors around the city but Stephanie Long, senior scientist with the EPA, says they do not tell the full story.

“They can only tell us what’s happening in a given location,” she said. “NO2 levels can vary a lot from one area to the next. It depends on traffic but also on how built-up an area is.

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