Why monitor air pollution?

The monitoring of our air quality is used to improve our understanding of the science of pollution, and also to assess the impact of pollutants on our health. Measurements are vital to determine if legally binding limits set by the EU are being met, and to understand our everyday exposure.

By analysing data, scientists are able assess how bad air pollution is from one day to the next, which areas are worse than others, and whether concentrations are rising or falling. They can also see how pollutants interact with each other and how they relate to traffic density or industrial activity. When the relationship between the weather and air quality is analysed, it is also possible to predict what conditions will give rise to pollution episodes.

This information allows members of the public who are worried about pollution or with health problems worsened by pollution, to access up-to-date information via the internet and smart phone applications.

Air pollution measurement also allows scientists to create computer models to test "what if?" scenarios. For example "how much will air quality improve if traffic is reduced by 20%?". This information can then be used by the Government to make informed policy decisions. Environmental policy is constantly being updated in the light of scientific research.

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