Ambient Air Quality Report 2005

Date released: Jul 20 2006

The EPA issued advice to the public yesterday as ozone levels exceeded 'information levels'. Today, as it released its air quality results for 2005, the EPA can report that ozone levels have now reverted to normal levels.

In 2005, air quality in Ireland was generally good throughout the country and complied with the air quality standards in force across Europe for all pollutants.

Results were based on monitoring data from 25 stations, producing hourly or daily data as required by the EU Directives on Air Quality.

Dr Ciaran O' Donnell, EPA Programme Manager said, Yesterday's high levels of ozone were unusual, caused by the interaction of various precursor compounds in the presence of sunlight and high temperatures.What our results for 2005 show is that good air quality generally depends on local emissions. Heavy traffic and non-smokeless fuel are the two main causes of poor air quality in Ireland.The public are encouraged to consider the environment in their choice of domestic fuels.

The main pollutants recorded in 2005 were nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter (PM10).Nitrogen dioxide levels were highest in urban areas, mainly due to traffic density.Particulates were highest in cities, again mainly due to traffic density, however, particulates were also found in smaller towns and even in rural sites.

Previously high levels of lead are no longer a problem and ozone levels remained below the 'information threshold' throughout the year in 2005.

The Air Quality in Ireland 2005 report can be accessed at www.epa.ie/downloads/pubs/air/quality

Real-time air quality information,  This provides direct access to current levels of pollutants from relevant fixed stations across Ireland.