Key Indicators of Ambient Air Quality.
Summary of ambient air quality in 2019 based on concentration measurements of particulate matter, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, heavy metals, ozone, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and benzene.
Air Advice Note No. 1
The aim of this Advice Note is to provide concise ‘best-practice guidance for the completion of a Solvent Management Plan (SMP)
Date released: September 19, 2022
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has today launched its annual air quality report ‘Air Quality in Ireland 2021’.
Date released: August 22, 2022
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce today launched the Clean Air Together (Cork City) Citizen Science project, to gather new data on the quality of the air in Cork City.
Date released: April 22, 2022
The EPA today published a report on its assessment of emissions of five key air pollutants which impact air quality, health and the environment.
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.
How do I monitor air quality in my home?
The EPA only monitors outdoor ambient air. Private consultancy firms can provide air quality monitoring in homes.
If you are concerned about indoor air quality in your workplace you should contact the Health and Safety Authority. Tel: 1890 289 389 or visit the HSA website
Why is air quality important?
Air pollution is a major environmental risk to health. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), air pollution can increase the risk of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and both chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma. The World Health Organisation estimates that more than 400,000 premature deaths are attributable to poor air quality in Europe annually. In Ireland, the number of premature deaths attributable to air pollution is estimated at 1,300 people (Air Quality in Europe 2020, EEA) and is mainly due to cardiovascular disease. The WHO has described air pollution as the ‘single biggest environmental health risk’.
What are the main pollutants of concern to the environment and human health?
The ambient air quality pollutants of most concern on an EU-wide level are Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), Particulate Matter (PM), Ozone (O3) and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs). They can impact on human health, ecosystems and vegetation and monitoring is carried out to determine their concentration levels.
How does ground-level ozone form?
Tropospheric, or ground level ozone, is not emitted directly into the air, but is created by chemical reactions between oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC). This happens when pollutants emitted by cars, power plants, industrial boilers, refineries, chemical plants, and other sources chemically react in the presence of sunlight.
Sunshine and heat help ozone to form, so ozone pollution is most likely to be a problem on warm, sunny days.
Another unusual thing about ozone is that it reacts with nitric oxide (NO) which is usually found in towns and cities near roads. As a result, ozone pollution is more of a problem in the countryside than in our cities.
What is Sulphur Dioxide?
The main source of Sulphur Dioxide in Ireland is burning coal and oil to heat homes and industries and to produce electricity.
It is an irritant gas which attacks the throat and lungs. Prolonged exposure can lead to increases in respiratory illnesses like chronic bronchitis. It contributes to the formation of acid rain, which damages vegetation and buildings.
Levels in Ireland are low to moderate. Overall levels have decreased over recent years due to increased use of low-sulphur "smokeless" coal, increased use of natural gas instead of solid fuels and reduced industrial emissions through IPC licensing.