EPA states that Good Air Quality cannot be taken for granted

Date released: Jan 24 2006

Air quality in Ireland in 2004 complied with the air quality standards in force for all pollutants. 

However, commenting on the Environmental Protection Agency’s air quality report for 2004, Gerard O’Leary, Programme Manager, EPA said, “Despite the good results, good air quality cannot be taken for granted. The potential remains for urban centres, subject to heavy traffic, to breach air quality standards.”

The report entitled Ambient Air Quality in Ireland 2004 provides an overview of ambient air quality trends in Ireland in 2004 based on monitoring data from 54 stations in operation during the year. The air quality analysis presented in the report is based on concentration measurements of the following pollutants; sulphur dioxide, black smoke, particulate matter, ozone, nitrogen oxides, lead, carbon monoxide and benzene.

Air Quality Summary:

  • Air quality was again good throughout the country in 2004, with monitoring results indicating full compliance with the air quality standards in force for all pollutants.
  • Particulate matter (PM10) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations recorded in 2004 were lower than in 2003. 
  • Black Smoke levels in Dublin, Cork and Limerick have dramatically reduced since the 1990s and have stabilised at very acceptable values. 

Commenting, Gerard O’Leary said, “Levels of PM10  - particulate matter - and NO2  - nitrogen dioxide - were found to be highest in urban areas that experience heavy traffic. While levels of these pollutants are currently in compliance, meeting stricter air quality standards that are expected to apply in future years is not guaranteed. Air quality management in our cities will depend largely on the effectiveness of traffic management measures and on the degree to which we curtail the growth in urban road traffic.”