Know Your NO₂: Become a Citizen Scientist and measure air pollution in Dublin

Date released: August 23, 2021

  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and An Taisce are looking for 1,000 people who live in Dublin to become citizen scientists and measure air pollution.
  • Selected participants will receive a small tube that will measure Nitrogen Dioxide (NO₂) in their local area.
  • Nitrogen Dioxide (NO₂) comes mainly from cars, vans and trucks. It is an air pollutant and can have very harmful effects on your heart and lungs
  • The sampling will be carried out over October and November this year.

If you are interested in helping the EPA and An Taisce you can get more information and also register to participate on the Clean Air Together project website.

Today the EPA and the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce launched a Citizen Science project to gather new data on the quality of the air we breathe in Dublin. The Clean Air Together project is looking for 1,000 Dublin citizens to help measure air pollution in their local area.

EPA Senior Scientist Stephanie Long said:

“According to a recent EPA survey, four out of every five people in Ireland believe that air pollution is a serious health risk, and two thirds of us think that it is a serious national problem. Recent EPA data shows that nitrogen dioxide (NO₂), which can have harmful effects on your lungs, is increasing in some areas around Dublin. By taking part in the Clean Air Together project you will know your NO₂. You will measure how much nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) is in your local area and your measurement - together with all of the other data collected - will give us a detailed picture of air quality in the city.”

Taking part in the project could not be simpler – you don’t need to be an expert, and the project is open to everyone. Once registered and selected, you will receive a pack in the post containing a small tube. Your pack will also include simple instructions for installing the tube outside your home or business and how to register it online. As one of the 1,000 participants, you will install your tube on Friday 8th October and leave it in place for four weeks. The tube will measure the levels of nitrogen dioxide - without you even knowing that it is there. After the four weeks, you will post the tube back to the EPA free of charge. Your tube will be sent for analysis and you will get a copy of your results once it has been analysed.

Anthony Purcell from An Taisce added:

“The Clean Air Together project is a great opportunity for people from all communities and backgrounds in Dublin to become Citizen Scientists. This small tube for measuring NO₂ is no bigger than the size of a crayon and is simple to set up. While small, this tube can gather impressive information; the data from this project will promote positive changes towards better air quality in Dublin and inform public policy and action. You can sign up to be selected for the project on the Clean Air Together website”

All the results from this project will be mapped on the Clean Air Together website so that you can compare your results to those in other parts of Dublin. These results will then be combined with existing EPA air quality results to give a better picture of air quality in Dublin.

Notes to Editor

Clean Air Together is a partnership project between the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce. Details of the project are available on the project website and the EPA website.

The recent EPA survey was undertaken on behalf of the EPA by Red C between the 16-21st July 2021. It had 1,005 participants.

While this project is the first of its kind in Ireland, it is inspired by a similar citizen science air pollution campaign in Belgium called Curious Noses (CurieuzeNeuzen). This was Europe’s largest ever air pollution measurement project. Curious Noses was seen as a great success, with meaningful impacts for citizens, the scientific community and Belgian public-policy alike. More information is available on the Belgian project website.

You will find further information on Citizen Science in Ireland and air pollution in Ireland on the EPA website.