Air Quality in Ireland 2019

Key Indicators of Ambient Air Quality.

Summary: 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.

Report cover

Published: 2020

ISBN: 978-1-84095-940-6

Pages: 41

Filesize: 3,818 KB

Format: pdf


Air Quality :: Environmental Protection Agency, Ireland

Air quality in Ireland in 2019

  • Air quality in Ireland is generally good however there are localised issues
  • There was one exceedance of the EU annual average legal limit values in 2019 at one urban traffic station in Dublin due to pollution from transport. 
  • Ireland was above World Health Organization (WHO) air quality guideline value levels at 33 monitoring sites – mostly due to the burning of solid fuel in our cities, towns and villages.
  • Ireland was above the European Environment Agency reference level for PAH, a toxic chemical, at 4 monitoring sites due to the burning of solid fuel.

 Problem pollutants

  • Particulate matter from the burning of solid fuel – is estimated to cause 1300 premature deaths.
  • Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) from transport emissions is polluting our urban areas.
  • Indications that we will exceed EU limit values for NO2 at further monitoring stations in the future.

 What should be done

  • To tackle the problem of particulate matter we should:
  • Move away from burning solid fuel (coal, wood, turf) towards cleaner ways of heating our homes like gas or electrified heating
  • Implement a national Smoky Coal ban and determine the feasibility of a wider smoky fuel ban for towns and cities.
  • To reduce the impact of NO2 we must:
  • Follow through on the legal requirement for an air quality action plan to be developed for Dublin to protect health.
  • Implement the transport options in the Government’s Climate Action Plan, promoting clean public transport and increasing the use of electric vehicles
  • All, as individuals, consider our transport choices for each journey we take.

 National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Programme

Currently 84 monitoring stations in the national network

  • 24 new monitoring stations were brought online during 2019
  • 3 stations were upgraded
  • 42 schools have now taken part in the GLOBE schools project operated in partnership with An Taisce