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Assessing Atmospheric Anthropogenic Microfiber Deposition in Ireland

As Ireland is located on the western periphery of Europe, it predominantly receives unpolluted air masses from the Atlantic Ocean. This makes it a globally important background region for transboundary air pollution monitoring of both atmospheric composition and deposition monitoring in Europe. A recent research article “Ambient Atmospheric Deposition of Anthropogenic Microfibers and Microplastics on the Western Periphery of Europe (Ireland)” [1] authoured by Brett Roblin, Margaret Ryan, Andrew Vreugdenhil, and Julian Aherne, examines wet sample deposition of anthropogenic microfibers/plastics at monitoring sites around the country.

The results of the study, published in the Environmental Science & Technology journal, estimates the atmospheric deposition of anthropogenic microfibers and plastic microfibers in precipitation from Ireland. Plastic microfibers are considered those identified as petrochemical based polymers. The potential role of long-range atmospheric transport was also examined by assessing the volume of microfibers transported in comparison to meteorological variables.

Figure 1 Rainwater sampling at EMEP sites

Figure 1 Rainwater sampling at EMEP sites

Met Éireann has two laboratories: one is located in the Headquarters building at Glasnevin, the other is sited at Valentia Observatory in Co Kerry. These facilities were established to monitor the state of the global environment with special reference to its chemical composition, as required by Met Eireann’s participation in the World Meteorological Organisation’s Global Atmosphere Watch programme (GAW)

Figure 2 Location of atmospheric composition monitoring sites in Ireland

Figure 2 Location of atmospheric composition monitoring sites in Ireland

As part of this programme, air and rain samples are collected at Valentia Observatory and at EPA sites. These are then analysed for the common inorganic ions. The results are submitted to GAW and to the European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme (EMEP).

 

 

 

 

 


[1] Ambient Atmospheric Deposition of Anthropogenic Microfibers and Microplastics on the Western Periphery of Europe (Ireland), Brett Roblin, Margaret Ryan, Andrew Vreugdenhil, and Julian Aherne, Environmental Science & Technology 2020 54 (18), 11100-11108. DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.0c04000

 

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