The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has estimated that approximately 1,300 people are dying prematurely in Ireland each year due to poor air quality from fine particulate matter.
A new report said while Ireland’s air quality is generally good, “concerning localised issues” are having a negative impact in parts of the country.
The ‘Air Quality in Ireland 2021’ report added that while the State met all of its EU legal requirements regarding air quality last year, it did not meet the new health-based guidelines set by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The report said the State fell short of the WHO guidelines for a number of pollutants, including particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, and ozone “due to the burning of solid fuel in our towns and villages and traffic in our cities”.
“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,” the EPA said.
In order to move towards meeting the WHO guidelines, the EPA recommended that the State invest in clean public transport nationwide, adding that local authorities should provide more resources to increase air enforcement activities.