A new web service has been launched which will allow people to check the quality of air in Westmeath.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA ) new Air Quality Index for Health (AQIH ) is a web-based index that shows current air quality in Westmeath and across Ireland. The results are broken down into a coloured scale divided into four bands: good; fair; poor, and very poor, with health advice provided for each band.
Local monitoring stations are located at Clonmore, Mullingar and in Longford. A check yesterday morning [Thursday] revealed air quality at the Mullingar monitoring station to be ‘good’. Another check for air quality across the region’s ‘large towns’ also produced an overall ‘good’ result.
The AQIH is calculated hourly, and shows the current air quality for Westmeath and whether or not this might affect your health. You can see the current readings at www.airquality.epa.ie The coloured scale on the map will change depending on the air quality, which can vary considerably even over the course of a day. In addition the index gives advice on what people should do when air quality is poor.
The new Air Quality Index was developed in conjunction with the Health Service Executive, Met Éireann and the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government.
EPA manager Barbra O’ Leary explains, “Air quality can vary from town to town, day to day, and even hour to hour. The Air Quality Index for Health allows people in Westmeath to keep informed about air quality in their town or area and its impact on their health and that of their family. The access to up-to-date and correct information on air quality is important to everyone but especially for anyone suffering from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases who are more likely to be at risk from air pollution.
“If you think you may be at risk, it is a good idea to check the index before doing any strenuous activity outdoors such as sports. Although it should be noted that we are very lucky in this country as everywhere in Ireland has relatively good levels of air quality and there is never a need to take extreme precautions such as staying indoors.”
To check the air quality in your area visit www.airquality.epa.ie or see the Twitter account @EPAAirQuality which is updated twice a day and more frequently if there is an issue in a particular region.