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.
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Air quality in Ireland is generally good, however, there are concerning localised issues that are impacting negatively on 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’s 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.