Authors: Maria McNamara, Hannah Binner, Eric Hynes and Luisa Andrade, June 2022
This study aimed to generate an accessible evidence base to support the development of new policy on soil and to enable Ireland to meet its commitments to both national and EU soil strategies.
Authors: Éamonn Walsh, Lekha Margassery, Neil Coughlan, Roisin Broughton, Holger Kühnhold, Arno Fricke, Gavin Burnell, Maria O’Mahoney, David Wall, Paul Bolger, Niall O’Leary and Marcel A.K. Jansen, June 2022
There are pressing economic and environmental concerns regarding the imbalance between resource consumption and regeneration. This research successfully demonstrated a paradigm shift in how wastewater is treated by developing a pioneering cascading system for valorisation of dairy wastewater, based on circular economy principles. It successfully developed an integrated system coupling microbial-based technologies of anaerobic digestion and aerobic dynamic feeding with duckweed cultivation.
Authors: Jennifer Attard and Tracey O’Connor, June 2022
Food waste in Ireland has been estimated at 1.1 million tonnes per year, but this excluded farming, fishing and aquaculture (i.e. primary production), as there were no data on these sectors. This research has quantified and understood food waste in primary production and is a starting point in identifying areas that need addressing. The project has compiled various options for solutions available to tackle the specific food waste issues occurring in Ireland.
Authors: Anita McKeown, Lucy Hunt, James Murphy, Eleanor Turner and Rebecca White, May 2022
The United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development require governments to take ownership and establish frameworks for the achievement of the 17 global goals. Ireland has mapped existing policies and programmes against each of the 169 SDG sub targets, setting out a roadmap for achieving the goals. CoDesRes developed and explored a series of proof-of-concept methods and from this created two toolkits. As interventions, the toolkits (community peer-to-peer learning and place-based STEAM education) localise the implementation of the SDGs and offer insights into adaptive opportunities to engage the public.
Authors: Gideon Fadiran and Stephen Onakuse, May 2022
Consumer behaviour represents acts or decisions that influence the direction of production and consumption activities, which are, in turn, driven by household and, ultimately, economic activities. This research investigated the linkages between habits and norms that drive behavioural attitudes and preferences, and how consumers’ socio-economic background, community, beliefs, etc. are identified as the driving factors of consumer behaviour and waste patterns.
Authors: John Eakins, Bernadette Power, Niall Dunphy and Gordon Sirr, April 2022
The EPA has highlighted air quality issues in urban centres in Ireland in recent years. Emissions of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), attributable to the burning of solid fuels, such as coal, peat and wood, are a particular cause of concern. This research project aims to provide a deeper understanding of the sector using existing and new sources of data on solid fuel use. The development of a new data set based on a survey of household heating and fuel use will be the primary contribution.
Authors: Joanna O’Riordan, Richard Boyle, John O’Neill, Fergal O’Leary and Laura Shannon, March 2022
Clean, healthy water is essential for our economy, our aquatic wildlife and our health and wellbeing. However, as noted in the draft third-cycle River Basin Management Plan (Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, 2021), there are mounting environmental pressures on Ireland’s waters with the situation described as ‘’urgent’’. The objective of this research was to review changes in structures and processes made under the second-cycle River Basin Management Plan, 2018–2021, to inform thinking regarding the third-cycle River Basin Management Plan, 2022–2027.
Authors: Colum Gibson, Keelin Tobin, Claire Downey, Sarah Miller, Laura Niessen, Roberta Bellini and Tadhg Coakley, March 2022
Recent EU legislation aims to strengthen reuse in all Member States and asks Member States to measure reuse, with the option of setting national targets in the future. By gathering information on the scale and size of the reuse sector in Ireland, we can benchmark and compare our reuse sector against others. This study assessed the capability of the Irish reuse sector to supply the data necessary for quantifying the extent of reuse in Ireland and informing Irish policymakers on the steps required to support the sector to report in the future.
Authors: Astrid Wingler, Fiona Cawkwell, Paul Holloway, Gourav Misra, Rubén de la Torre Cerro and Calum Sweeney, March 2022
The PhenoClimate project determined the impact of climate change on seasonal life cycle (phenological) events and the consequences for species interactions. For Irish woodlands, an advance of the growing season in spring was identified using satellite remote sensing. Arrival of migratory birds was found to advance too, however, instances in which migratory birds showed asynchrony with insect first flight dates were identified, suggesting that climate change can result in phenological mismatch.
Authors: Laurence Gill, Saheba Bhatnagar, Ella Bijkerk, Shane Regan, Celia Somlai, Owen Naughton, Bidisha Ghosh, Stephen Waldren, Catherine Coxon and Paul Johnston, February 2022
Wetlands provide important regulating ecosystem services, such as water purification, carbon capture and storage, and flood protection. They also provide rich habitats for biodiversity, including many protected species. This research project evaluated and developed methods for the assessment and definition of appropriate ecohydrological metrics to help policymakers conserve and/or restore wetlands, particularly with respect to meeting the objectives of the Water Framework Directive and Habitats Directive as applied to GWDTEs in Ireland.
Authors: Karen Deignan, Aideen O’Hora, Orlaith Delargy, Laura Heuston and Conor Morrow, February 2022
Climate change is already affecting Irish businesses and these impacts are likely to increase in severity. Our research identified material climate risks (pressures) for Ireland’s private sector. By raising awareness of climate risks and opportunities, this research can help the private sector identify and develop solutions to address the environmental and economic challenges that they face. This project can also inform the development of solutions to develop business-level (rather than sector-level) resilience and adaptation plans.
Authors: Florence Renou-Wilson, Kenneth A. Byrne, Raymond Flynn, Alina Premrov, Emily Riondato, Matthew Saunders, Killian Walz and David Wilson, January 2022
Irish bogs have been drastically altered by human activities and the sampled peat properties reflect the nature and magnitude of the impact of land use and management. A recognition of the heterogeneity found across Irish peat soils, together with an understanding of the relationships between key soil properties, are critical for developing effective strategies to reduce the carbon footprint of these degraded ecosystems. Our findings clearly support the need for a site-by-site approach for rewetting management schemes.
Authors: Ashlene Hudson, John Murnane and Ronan Courtney, December 2021
Mine waste storage facilities can generate significant quantities of wastewaters and leachates with extreme pH and elevated metal contents. Modern mine waste (tailings) facilities operating under licence from the EPA have constructed wetlands as a component of their Integrated Pollution Control (IPC) licences. This study provides evidence of the effectiveness of constructed wetlands for treating mine waters from different settings over time frames of several years.
Authors: Alma Clavin, Niamh Moore-Cherry and Gerald Mills, December 2021
Enhancing green infrastructure in densely populated centres is an important means of improving urban environments, with benefits for air and water quality, as well as biodiversity enhancement. The project Mapping Green Dublin examined the variable green cover in the Dublin City Council area. It has generated data on the city’s trees, identified those places with significant environmental deficiencies and worked with the local community to develop a greening strategy for the Dublin 8 area. Mapping Green Dublin has established a process for effective engagement with neighbourhoods that allows residents to be participants in the design of their own spaces.
Authors: Ajinkya S. Mane and Bidisha Ghosh, December 2021
The “Eco-HDV” research project evaluated the impacts of adaptation of eco-driving programmes in the Irish heavy-duty vehicle fleet, focusing especially on the freight sector. The research identified perceptions and awareness of eco-driving training, reviewed the best eco-driving practices and analysed the possibilities of adaptation of eco-driving programmes. The project generated guidelines for the implementation of eco-driving programmes and other measures to reduce vehicular emissions from the Irish heavy-duty vehicle fleet.
Authors: Enda Murphy, Patrick Paul Walsh and Aparajita Banerjee, December 2021
This report contributes to a range of international and national policy areas, creating a positive feedback loop between policies for environmental SDG promotion, governance for the SDGs and integrated environmental policymaking. It provides an important evidence base for assessing national progress on the environmental SDGs relative to EU peer nations. This is the first time that Ireland’s progress on the SDGs has been assessed on an SDG target and indicator basis relative to peer nations.
Authors: Ian Thomas, Michael Bruen, Eva Mockler, Christopher Werner, Per-Erik Mellander, Sim Reaney, Anna Rymszewicz, Gavan McGrath, Edith Eder, Andrew Wade, Adrian Collins and Berit Arheimer, November 2021
Eutrophication, often driven by phosphorus, is the most significant issue for inland surface waters in Ireland. Half of Irish river water bodies still require improvements to bring them to good status, as required by the Water Framework Directive (WFD) (2000/60/EC). This research contributes to Ireland’s response to the third River Basin Management Plan of the WFD and to the development and implementation of more sustainable and cost-effective agricultural policies.
Authors: Rajat Nag and Enda Cummins, November 2021
Background levels of metal(loid)s coupled with anthropogenic sources may lead to increased levels of certain metal(loid)s in soil, leading to potential uptake by plants. This study develops a source–pathway–receptor conceptual model for metal(loid)s in environmental media. The study presents an approach that can be extended to further evaluate pollutants and their environment–health interactions.
Authors: Martin Le Tissier and Hester Whyte, October 2021
This report addresses how understanding of interlinkages between the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations Agenda 2030 and Ireland’s policy portfolio can advance understanding to meeting SDG targets and a “whole-of-government” approach to policy implementation.
Authors: Kathleen McMahon, Chidinma Uchendu and Colin Fitzpatrick, October 2021
Ireland has met or exceeded collection and recovery targets for waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) in recent years. However, as targets have risen, Ireland’s stakeholders must identify and address challenges presented by WEEE that does not arise in collection. This research identifies two pathways by which UEEE is exported for the purpose of reuse, namely through the shipment of roll-on roll-off vehicles and through the shipment of professional IT equipment, and it aims to quantify the amount of UEEE exported through each pathway.