Wednesday, June 14, 2023

"Dear dirty Dublin" — Air pollution low among Europe's capitals

Una Mullally of the Irish Times said this week that "Dublin is a dirty, smelly, sticky old town once again." I was back in Ireland in May and I stayed in the city centre south of the River Liffey for more than a week. It looked clean to me; the sun was shining and people were using the recently installed outdoor furniture.

IQAir is a Swiss tech firm - IQAir World Air Quality Report 2022 Finds Only 5% of Countries Meet WHO PM2.5 Air Pollution. For example, it collects data from Ireland's Environmental Protection Agency. There are 30,000 air quality monitoring stations across 7,323 locations in 131 countries.

Dublin's north inner city has been named Ireland's "litter blackspot'" in a survey. The country's latest litter league, compiled by the Irish Business Against Litter, lists the north inner city bottom of 40 areas across Ireland for rubbish.

The Irish Times reported last week that members of the public have been urged to treat outdoor spaces with care and protect fragile ecosystems as part of a new campaign launched by Leave No Trace Ireland, an organisation that campaigns for “outdoor ethics”.

“The lowest awareness of the impact of irresponsible behaviour was shown to be among those below 35 years of age and the 2023 Love This Place Campaign is focused on this demographic to increase education around the simple actions people can take to protect and enhance our experience of the outdoors countryside, and recreational spaces.”

It's always easy to blame the "Corpo" ( the local city council) but a percentage of Irish and foreign residents inevitably behave like pigs (let's call them Litter Pigs — sorry pigs, you may be cleaner than some of these folk!). It may not be an income issue as dog owners can allow their pets to shit on pathways and paths.

In July 2022 The Irish Independent reported that more than 10 tonnes of litter was left by the Litter Pigs on Burrow Beach, Sutton, County Dublin, ON ONE DAY. It took 6 hours for workers from Fingal Council to clear up the mess.

A colleague once said that Copenhagen was the dog-shit capital of Europe. Apparently, Denmark gave a subsidy to elderly old dog owners. In more recent times Spain has the largest per capita dog ownership in Europe.

Dublin has a ranking of 5,398 from 7,323 among world cities.

Ireland has a ranking of 8 in Europe for country pollution. In the top 116 cities Dublin has a 102 ranking which is 'Good' Oslo at 104; 'Stockholm is 106 and Helsinki at 108." Ireland has a ranking of 8 in Europe for country pollution. In the top 116 cities Dublin has a 102 ranking which is 'Good"; Oslo at 104; 'Stockholm is 106 and Helsinki at 108.

In June (2023) so far Dublin has kept its 'Good' category for air pollution.

"Dear dirty Dublin"

"Does a fellow good a bit of a holiday. I feel a ton better since I landed again in dear dirty Dublin ..." is a quote from 'A Little Cloud,' one of the short stories in James Joyce's 'Dubliners' (1914). "DEAR DIRTY DUBLIN" also appears in 'Ulysses' in all caps (1922).

It was an apt description of Dublin in Joyce's youth and the expression had been quoted in 'The Dublin University Magazine' in 1846 and in 1887 the Scientific Proceedings of the Royal Dublin Society noted that it was the use of the Donnybrook Calp (limestone quarried in South Dublin) in repairing the streets that got for Dublin the soubriquet of “dear, dirty Dublin.”

The expression has also been ascribed to novelist Sydney Owenson, Lady Morgan (c1781-1859).

In 1988 Dublin celebrated its Millenium but it was a publicity stunt and a spokesperson for the then Dublin Corporation reacted to the scepticism of historians saying “You can never get these people to agree anyway. After all, there are some who say St. Patrick never existed, but that doesn’t get rid of March 17th. And who picked December 25th as Christ’s birthday? Nobody was sure what the real day was, so they had to pick something.”

Centuries before 988 there was an Irish settlement at the confluence of the River Poddle and the main River Liffey, known in Gaelic as Áth Cliath (Hurdled Fort) and the name related to the hurdles which provided a makeshift bridge across the rivers at low tide.

The Vikings arrived in 841 but they were ejected in 902 and they returned in 917. The settlement was re-established and developed into the town of Dubh Linn (black pool). It was reputed to be the most important trading town in the western Viking world. In 1169/1170 Normans arrived from Wales and captured the town. A Danish fort on high ground was developed into Dublin Castle from 1204 and it became the seat of Norman/ English rule until 1922. The River Poddle (now underground) provided defence and later a moat.