Air quality in Ireland 2021

Summary: Air quality in Ireland is generally good, however, there are concerning localised issues that are impacting negatively on the air we breathe. Ireland met all of its EU legal requirements in 2021, but it did not meet the new health-based WHO guidelines in 2021. Ireland and Europe should move towards achieving the health-based WHO air quality guidelines.

Image for report 2021 thumbnail portrait

Published: 2022

ISBN: 978-1-80009-070-5

Pages: 10

Filesize: 7,460 KB

Format: pdf

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Ireland should move towards achieving the health-based WHO air quality guidelines

Air quality in Ireland is generally good, however, there are concerning localised issues that are impacting negatively on the air we breathe.

  • Ireland met all of its EU legal requirements in 2021, but it did not meet the new health-based WHO guidelines in 2021.
  • Ireland and Europe should move towards achieving the health-based WHO air quality guidelines.
  • It is estimated that there are approximately 1,300 premature deaths annually in Ireland due to poor air quality from fine particulate matter (PM5).
  • The choices we make in how we heat our homes and how we travel directly impacts the quality of the air we breathe.

The report shows that, while air quality in Ireland is generally good and compares favourably with many of our European neighbours, there are concerning localised issues which lead to poor air quality.  While Ireland met EU legal air quality limits in 2021,  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) due to the burning of solid fuel in our towns and villages and traffic in our cities.

 Poor air quality has a negative impact on people‚Äôs health and there are an estimated 1,300 premature deaths in Ireland per year due to particulate matter in our air. Air monitoring results in 2021 from EPA stations across Ireland show that fine particulate matter (PM2.5), mainly from burning solid fuel in our homes, and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) mainly from road traffic, remain the main threats to good air quality.

  • Ireland and Europe should move towards achieving the health-based WHO air quality guidelines.
  • The planned National Clean Air Strategy for Ireland needs to be published and fully implemented.
  • Local Authorities must provide more resources to increase air enforcement activities.
  • National investment in clean public transport is needed across the country.
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