Air Quality in Ireland 2009

Key Indicators of Ambient Air Quality

Summary: Ambient air quality trends based on concentration measurements in 2009 of particulate matter, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, black smoke, heavy metals, ozone, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and benzene.

Published: 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84095-380-0

Pages: 56

Filesize: 1,428KB

Format: pdf

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
This report provides an overview of air quality in Ireland for 2009, based on data obtained from 28 monitoring stations. These results are compared to limit values set out in EU legislation on ambient air quality (Clean Air For Europe Directive 2008 and 4th Daughter Directive 2007). Air quality in Ireland is generally of a high standard across the country due to prevailing Atlantic airflows, relatively few large cities and the lack of widespread heavy industries. However, levels of particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide remain of concern.

Traffic is the primary source of nitrogen dioxide and is also one of the main sources of particulate matter. Despite cleaner vehicle emissions technology decreasing the impact of individual vehicles, there has been an increase in the number of vehicles which has offset any benefit in air quality. Levels of nitrogen dioxide are high in Dublin and Cork city centres and, in 2009, exceeded the 2010 limit value at one monitoring station in Dublin. The reason for this has not been determined but is unlikely to be due to a significant increase in emissions. The four Dublin local authorities must prepare an air quality management plan to address this exceedance.

Domestic solid fuel use is the other main source of particulate matter in air in Ireland and particularly impacts air quality in areas where the sale of bituminous coal is permitted. As a result, levels of particulate matter in smaller towns are similar or worse than those in cities. As such it is important to note the impact that the choice in domestic heating fuel can have on the environment and air quality. Measured values of sulphur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), Ozone (O3), particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), heavy metals, benzene and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were all below limit and target values set out in the CAFE Directive and 4th Daughter Directive. Monitoring stations are located across the country. New stations in 2009 included Ringsend and Rosemount in Dublin and Newbridge in County Kildare.

Information on Real-time Air Quality. This provides members of the public with direct access to current levels of pollutants from relevant fixed stations across Ireland.

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