The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently launched its annual air quality report: Air Quality in Ireland 2021. The report shows that, while air quality in Ireland is generally good and compares favourably with many of our European neighbours, there are concerning localised issues which lead to poor air quality.
While Ireland met EU legal air quality limits in 2021, it did not meet the health-based World Health Organization (WHO) air quality guidelines for a number of pollutants including: particulate matter (PM), nitrogen Dioxide (N02), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and ozone (O3) due to the burning of solid fuel in our towns and villages and traffic in our cities.
Poor air quality has a negative impact on people’s health and there are an estimated 1,300 premature deaths in Ireland per year due to particulate matter in our air. Air monitoring results in 2021 from EPA stations across Ireland show that fine particulate matter (PM2.5), mainly from burning solid fuel in our homes, and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) mainly from road traffic, remain the main threats to good air quality.
In the report the EPA states that:
- Ireland and Europe should move towards achieving the health-based WHO air quality guidelines.
- The planned National Clean Air Strategy for Ireland needs to be published and fully implemented.
- Local Authorities must provide more resources to increase air enforcement activities.
- National investment in clean public transport is needed across the country.
The EPA’s Air Quality in Ireland 2021 report is now available on the EPA website.
Image Source: EPA