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EPA Launches A National Air Quality Forecast.

Sufferers of respiratory diseases and asthma please note.

  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has today launched a national air quality forecast available on airquality.ie.
  • The forecast will provide maps showing the predicted daily air quality for up to three days -“Today”, “Tomorrow” and the “Day after Tomorrow”.
  • The air quality forecast is an important resource for everyone, but especially people who may be sensitive to poor air quality (e.g. those with asthma and heart conditions).
  • The air quality forecast will help people plan their activities to follow public health advice, such as reducing physical activity when air pollution levels could affect their health.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has today launched a national air quality forecast to provide greater information to the public regarding expected air quality in Ireland for up to three days – “Today”, “Tomorrow” and the “Day after Tomorrow”.

Forecasts include daily Air Quality Index for Health (AQIH), Particulate Matter (PM), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and ozone (O3). PM, NO2 and O3 are the three main air pollutants impacting human health in Ireland. All pollutants mapped are presented on the Air Quality Index for Health (AQIH) scale (1 – 10).

Marking the launch of the forecast, Dr Micheál Lehane, Director of the EPA’s Office of Radiation Protection & Environmental Monitoring, said: “Air pollution can seriously impact people’s health; the air quality forecast will provide an important health and air quality resource for everyone, and will be even more impactful for those of us who are particularly affected by poor air quality, including those suffering from respiratory disease and asthma. The forecast will also serve policy makers as a valuable tool for analysing air quality in Ireland.’’

There are concerning localised air quality issues in Ireland. Fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) from burning solid fuel and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) from vehicle emissions are the main pollutants impacting on people’s health. This forecast will help people plan their activities in line with the Air Quality Index for Health (AQIH) recommendations, such as reducing physical activity when air pollution levels are predicted to increase. The forecast maps will be uploaded twice daily, once in the morning and once in the evening.

The CEO of the Asthma Society of Ireland, Ms Eilís Ní Chathnia, welcomed the forecast launch: “The air quality forecast will be an important resource for our members and everyone with respiratory conditions. Ireland has the highest incidence rate of asthma in Europe with one in ten children and one in thirteen adults developing the condition – with 890,000 people likely to develop asthma in their lifetimes. The Asthma Society welcomes the opportunity to be associated with the launch of the forecast.’’

The forecast and further information on air quality and the Air Quality Index for Health are available on HERE.

The air quality forecast maps are produced by computer models which have been developed under the EU LIFE Emerald project. The models use Irish and European data such as air quality measurements, forecast weather and land cover data. The EPA has partnered on this with the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC), the Health Service Executive (HSE), VITO, a Belgian research institute, University College Cork (UCC) and the Asthma Society of Ireland.

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