A concept of “school zones” should be given legal backing to address the increase of air pollution caused by idling vehicles according to Green Party spokesperson for transport, Cllr Patrick Costello.
Costello said he used monitors to compare the air quality outside of and at school term time. Ten monitors placed across Dublin South Central found the following increase in pollution at school term times:
- 117% Scoil Iosagain, Aughavannagh Road 53.33046, -6.288252
- 92.50% Warrenmount Primary 53.335396, -6.275134
- 70.69% Basin View (ousitde CBS James’ St.) 53.340860, -6.290035
- 32% Inchicore National School (rear) 53.341602, -6.320310
- 17% Ballyfermot Road (St. Gabriels Primary) 53.342423, -6.346218
- 34% Convent Lawns (St. Dominc’s College) 53.344142, -6.348495
- 58% Le Fanu Road (St. Johns College De La Salle) 53.344367, -6.354081
- 38% Our Lady of Mercy Secondary 53.330916, -6.319963
- 63% Our Lady of Good Counsel 53.329574, -6.316881
- 85% Kilnamanagh Road (assumption Junior and Secondary) 53.322417, -6.332655
He said that the diffusion tubes that measure levels of Nitrous Oxide, manufactured by Gradko these were purchased from London Sustainability Exchange. The Tubes are put out for a period, taken down and sent to Gradko who send on results.
Cllr Costello said: “This test shows [not] only NO2 but would indicate that there is also a rise in the other pollutants associated with car traffic. It is estimated by the EPA that there are 1,180 premature deaths each year due to air pollution. Children’s lungs are more vulnerable so the fact that these increases are outside schools is an additional concern.”
“We need to invest in safe routes to schools for children and young people, better cycling infrastructure, quiet-ways, improved pedestrian crossings. The lack of investment by this government has only increased the problem. In the last council term I proposed a ‘School Streets’ initiative for Dublin City Council, this was accepted by councillors and is under development with Dublin City Beta,” he said.
Cllr Costello added: “School Streets have been a major success in the UK and recently too in Malahide. They limit the traffic that is allowed to pass by schools and create a safer, cleaner route to school. The Minister needs to roll this initiative out nationwide and increase investment into more sustainable and cleaner transport to ensure the health of this generation and the next.”