EPA’s review of 2022 shows the impact of environmental challenges and desire for action across Ireland

Date released: April 05, 2023

In 2022: 

  • Climate maps show Irish people think Ireland has a responsibility to act on climate change.
  • There were almost one million visits to the epa.ie website in 2022 by the general public.
  • EPA carried out over 1,500 inspections of industrial and waste facilities across Ireland and monitored over 2,000 rivers and lakes.
  • New radon maps launched by the EPA make it easy for people to find out the risk in their local area of this cancer causing gas.
  • The EPA monitors air quality across a network located in 100 urban areas.  Particulate matter from solid fuel combustion and nitrogen dioxide from traffic emissions are causing poor air quality.
  • Ireland is generating too much waste, and overall waste generation increased to 16.2 million tonnes.
  • Over half (53%) of septic tank systems failed inspection in 2021 and delays in resolving older failures is a concern.

5 April 2023: In its Review of 2022 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) highlights its work in addressing environmental challenges across Ireland.

Launching the report, EPA Director General, Laura Burke said:

“The EPA’s vision is that we live sustainably in a healthy environment that is valued and protected by all. There is good evidence that people in Ireland place a particularly high value on having a clean, healthy environment. But the EPA Review of 2022 shows that we must do more than express our convictions and aspirations. We must quickly back our values up with actions.”

The EPA’s 2022 review reports that:

  1. An overwhelming majority of the Irish public are either alarmed or concerned by climate change, and want to see real change. According to the EPA Climate Change in the Irish Mind Climate Opinion Maps, Irish adults are worried about climate change, and think Ireland has a responsibility to act on climate change.
  2. Particulate matter from burning solid fuel, and nitrogen dioxide from traffic continues to cause poor air quality. People can check the air quality index here. Changes in how we heat our homes and finding alternative ways to travel can immediately impact our local air quality.
  3. New radon risk maps show 170,000 homes nationally have radon concentrations above the national reference level. While there was an increase in people testing, the EPA is asking more people to test their homes and reduce their risk from this cancer-causing gas.
  4. Too much waste is being generated, with the rate of recycling stagnating. The EPA Circular Economy Programme in collaboration with Government, local government, industry, business and social enterprises is supporting the transition to a low carbon circular economy and is calling on the people to improve waste separation when recycling and increase the use of brown bins for food waste.
  5. Over half (53%) of septic tank systems failed inspection in 2021. People should visually check their septic tank and get their well tested at least annually to satisfy themselves that their septic tank is not posing a risk to the health of their families, their neighbours and the environment. Where problems are detected, householders need to take the necessary steps to fix their septic tanks. 

Further information on all of the findings above is available in the EPA’s 2022 Review report. 

Further information: Niamh Hatchell, EPA Media Relations Office 053-9170770 (24 hours) or media@epa.ie