Student Research Reports
Nitrogen dioxide and Traffic
Student(s):Krennly Daza Zinedin Labelle
Grade Level:Secondary School (grades 9-12, ages 14-18)
Date Submitted: 03/13/2020
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The combustion of fossil and solid fuels leads to the release of products, which are harmful to the biosphere. These include Carbon, Sulphur and Nitrogen oxides, Ozone and Particular matter PM2.5 and PM10. Long term exposure to the products of combustion can also pose a significant threat to plant, animal and human health. The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that air pollution is a major environmental risk to health. In 2016, 91% of the world population was living in places where the WHO air quality guidelines levels were not met. The current WHO guideline value of 40 µg/m3 (annual mean) was set to protect the public from the negative health effects of continual exposure to NO2. In 2016 in both cities and rural areas 4.2 million premature deaths worldwide were attributed to exposure to the products of fossil and solid fuel combustion where the levels exceeded the WHO guidelines. In Ireland the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that premature deaths attributed by air pollution is estimates at 1510 per annum.
This report investigates Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels at different rural and urban schools in Ireland over a period from February 2019 to October 2019 and presents conclusions about the levels and behaviour of this gas from the patterns presented in the data. NO2 passive diffusion tubes were placed at three locations at each school campus (busy-road, drop-off and sheltered zone). Data from February 2019 offered an opportunity to compare rural to urban schools while subsequent data from October 2019 made it possible to compare data between the two sampling periods and gather an insight into the levels and behaviour of NO2 at the same sampling location. At Larkin Community college (LCC) NO2 levels of 38.76 and 45.54µg/m3 for February and October 2019 were recorded for the busy-road zone on Cathal Brugha Street, Dublin 1. These values are close to or exceed the European Union air quality standards of 40µg/m3 as an annual mean. Continual real-time monitoring of air pollution levels assisted by quick-release of data through phone and desk-top applications can offer a valuable service to public health monitoring where people can readily access information about ambient air quality for specific locations.
Nitrogen dioxide, air pollution, ambient air quality, sampling zones, passive diffusion tubes.