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Over 120 new sensors to provide real-time data on Dublin’s air quality

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Des Travers, DPD Ireland chief executive and Sarah O’Connor, CEO of the Asthma Society of Ireland, at the launch of DPD's new Air Quality Monitoring programme. Pic: Maxwells

Des Travers, DPD Ireland chief executive and Sarah O’Connor, CEO of the Asthma Society of Ireland, at the launch of DPD's new Air Quality Monitoring programme. Pic: Maxwells

Des Travers, DPD Ireland chief executive and Sarah O’Connor, CEO of the Asthma Society of Ireland, at the launch of DPD's new Air Quality Monitoring programme. Pic: Maxwells

An innovative air quality monitoring programme has been rolled out across Dublin to track pollution levels in the city.

The initiative by delivery company DPD Ireland, in partnership with Pollutrack, will see the installation of smart sensors on 22 buildings and 102 vehicles. These will track Dublin’s air quality in real-time and the data will be shared with key stakeholders.

In addition to the company’s fleet of delivery vans and depots, sensors have also been attached to libraries, universities, schools and a fire station.

The laser sensors capture particulate matter (PM) 2.5 levels in real-time, at breathing level, and transmit the data every 12 seconds via GSM to a database developed by Pollutrack, an air quality monitoring company.

PM2.5 is mainly generated by the burning of fossil fuels and can be harmful if it enters the lungs or blood stream, especially for people with asthma.

The data produces air quality maps and hotspots to highlight areas in the city where higher than average PM2.5 levels are detected.

Information gathered from the sensors will be shared for free with leading universities, local authorities, health organisations and the public as part of the sustainability initiative.

DPD Ireland is liaising with Dublin City Council and the Environmental Protection Agency on the project and is providing data to DCU, UCD and TCD, where sensors have been installed at each campus.

DCU researchers at the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics will provide analysis on sensor datasets to aid better decision-making by stakeholders.

The Asthma Society of Ireland, Irish Doctors for the Environment, Children’s Health Ireland, Smart Dublin and UCC will also receive data from the project.

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All partners will use the information to support studies into the impact of PM levels on health and society. This programme has already been introduced in 15 European cities, including Paris, Madrid, London, Berlin and Glasgow.

Des Travers, chief executive of DPD Ireland, said their vans were gathering “incredible data” about Dublin’s air quality.

“If we put the right information in the right hands, we hope to make a positive influence on people’s lives,” he said. “It is our gift to Dublin, because information inspires action.”

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