Air quality in Ireland is generally good and compares favourably with many of our European neighbours, however there are concerning localised issues which lead to poor air quality.

We can all help improve the quality of the air we breathe, see what you can do

Air quality and you

What you need to know about air quality

What's happening with air quality?

Key Messages

While air quality in Ireland is generally good, there are concerning 
localised issues – these impact negatively on our health.
  • People’s health and the health of our environment is at risk due to the levels of pollutants in our air. 
  • Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) from solid fuel combustion and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) from vehicle emissions remain as our main pollutants.
  • Ireland’s ambition in the Clean Air Strategy is to move towards the World Health Organisation (WHO) Air Quality guidelines, this will be challenging but will have a significantly positive impact on health.


See how the air monitoring network has grown since 2017

Air Quality Index for Health

Air problem pollutant

problem pollutants - seasonal graph

What can I do?

Chimney smoke

We can all help improve the quality of the air we breathe:

  • Reduce particulate matter (PM) pollution from home heating.
  • Avoid using solid fuels if you have an alternative cleaner heating system.
  • Change how you heat your home by moving away from smoky fuels and instead use cleaner heat sources.
  • Make our homes more comfortable by increasing /improving insulation, supports are available through the national retrofitting scheme.
  • Reduce nitrogen dioxide (NO2 ) pollution from transport.
  • Leave the car at home if you can for one day a week.
  • Walk, cycle or take public transport.
  • Carpool. 
  • Work from home for part of your working week.
  • Go Electric on your next car.

What's needed?
Help is needed to facilitate people to make cleaner and healthier air quality choices:

  • Local authorities must provide more resources to increase air enforcement activities and implement the new solid fuel regulations.
  • Dublin Local Authorities must fully implement the Dublin Air Quality Plan.
  • Maintain and increase investment in clean public transport infrastructure across the country. 
  • Create more safe footpaths and cycle lanes.


Clean Air Together

LIFE Emerald

Diffusion Tubes

Monthly Air Quality Bulletins


Air Quality Reports Air

in: Air Quality
Irish sky in Cavan 2022
Air Quality in Ireland 2022

- Key indicators of ambient air quality in 2022

Summary of ambient air quality in 2022 based on concentration measurements of particulate matter, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, heavy metals, ozone, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and benzene. While Ireland met EU legal air quality limits in 2022, 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)

íomhá clúdaigh don tuarascáil um Chaighdeán an Aeir in Éirinn 2021
Cáilíocht an Aeir in Éirinn 2021

Príomhtháscairí maidir le cáilíocht an aeir chomhthimpeallaigh in 2021

Garden Meadow
Air Quality in Ireland 2021

Air quality in Ireland during the year 2021

This assessment is based on monitoring data collected from the National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Network during the year 2021

smoke chimneys
Air Quality in Ireland 2020

This assessment is based on monitoring data collected from the National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Network during the year 2020

Smoke coming from chimney
Air Quality in Ireland 2019

This assessment is based on monitoring data collected from the National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Network during the year 2019

FAQs about air quality

in: Air

Air quality in Ireland is generally good however there are localised issues due to the burning of smoky fuel or emissions from transport in dense urban areas.

Popular FAQ's

  • What are some useful websites where I can get information on air quality?

  • How is the AQIH calculated?

    The Air Quality Index for Health (AQIH) has 10 points ranging from 1 to 10. These points are divided into four coloured bands – good (readings of 1-3), fair (readings of 4-6), poor (7-9) and very poor (10). The higher the number the worse the quality of the air. For example, a AQIH reading of 10 means that the air quality is very poor and a reading of 1, 2 or 3 means that the air quality is good (see table below).

    The AQIH is based on measurements of five air pollutants all of which can harm health. The five pollutants are:

    • Ozone gas
    • Nitrogen dioxide gas
    • Sulphur dioxide gas
    • PM2.5 particles and
    • PM10 particles

    We use automatic air quality monitors to measure how much pollutant there is (we work this out per each cubic metre – m3) per hour.

    The pollutants measured at each station vary. All five pollutants are not measured at each site. Most monitoring stations measure particulate matter as these present the greatest health risk. Nitrogen dioxide is monitored mainly in urban areas with significant exposure to vehicle emissions.

    For each monitoring station, we work out the index number for each pollutant separately. The overall AQIH is the highest available pollutant index. For example, if the ozone index figure is greater than sulphur dioxide, we give the higher ozone index as the overall AQIH. The table below shows the ranges of concentration (amounts) for each pollutant. Examples of how to calculate the AQIH are given below the table.

    AQIH table of pollutants
  • How do I use the Air Quality Index for Health (AQIH)?

    Step 1: Read ‘What are the short-term effects of air pollution?’ to see if you or your child is likely to be at risk from air pollution. Your doctor may also be able to advise you.

    Step 2: Figure out which Air monitoring station is nearest to you using the map, or which one best represents air quality where you are. Check the AQIH at that station if you think you are at risk, and are planning strenuous outdoor activity.

    Step 3: Read the health advice messages for the current AQIH for your region.


    The AQIH health advice messages are messages to help you and your family better manage your health. The table below gives health messages for individuals who are sensitive to air pollution (at risk) and for‌ the general population.

    If you or child has heart or lung problems you are at greater risk of symptoms from air pollution. You need to follow your doctor's usual advice about exercising and managing your condition. If you are very sensitive, you may have health effects even on days when the air quality is good. Anyone experiencing symptoms should follow the guidance provided in the section on 'What can I do when there are increased levels of air pollution?'.

    AQIH Health messages
  • What is the Air Quality Index for Health (AQIH)?

    The EPA’s Air Quality Index for Health (AQIH) is a number from 1 to 10 that tells the public what the air quality currently is in their region, and whether this might affect the health of you or your child. A reading of 10 means the air quality is very poor and a reading of 1 to 3 inclusive means that the air quality is good.

  • What is the Fitness Check of AAQ?

    There was a (2018) fitness check of the two Ambient Air Quality Directives (AAQ) (Directives 2008/50/EC and 2004/107/EC) initiated by the European Commission, Directorate-General for Environment (assisted by consultants such as Milieu and Eunomia). They are being reviewed because they have been in force over 10 years now (Commission, 2011). The fitness check centered on five evaluation criteria; relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, coherence and EU added value (as outlined in the Better Regulation agenda). The findings of the fitness check will inform the review of the AAQ deciding if they are fit for purpose and continue to protect the citizens of the EU, and their environment, from harm.

    This fitness check process has had the following recommendations from public consultations (EC, 2018):

    • Achieve existing limit standards as soon as possible and update standards to be in line with new WHO guidelines when published;
    • Clarify requirements for AQ plans (include low emission zones LEZ);
    • Provide clear guidance on monitoring networks (number of sites and positioning) and on citizen science projects;
    • Revise the alert system to identify effective systems and ensure best practice is put in place by all member states;
    • Enforce Euro standards for cars across all Member States and remove non-compliant cars from the market;
    • Remove subsidies for polluting activities (i.e. diesel tax break in Ireland);
    • Ensure all Members meet NEC Directive ceilings;
    • Promote increased public participation and raise awareness about air pollution;
    • Pursue timely infringement procedures where there is non-compliance with the AAQ Directives.

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