“Air pollutants exceeded WHO guidelines at 33 locations in Ireland in 2019”

Air pollution is main contributor to 1,300 premature deaths a year here, EPA says

Ireland’s biggest source of air pollution is the burning of solid fuel in residential properties, and this is also the main contributor to an estimated 1,300 premature deaths a year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said.

In its air quality report for 2019, it says while air quality in Ireland is generally good and compares favourably with many of our European neighbours, “there are worrying localised issues” arising from burning solid fuel to heat buildings and traffic in large urban areas.

EPA monitoring shows in urban areas traffic-related nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution is increasing with the EU limit value for this pollutant exceeded at one Dublin traffic monitoring location – at St John’s Road West. The EPA report warns “these types of exceedances will continue unless we curb our reliance on fossil fuel powered transport, particularly diesel cars”.

Growing concern

“Levels of fine particulate matter (fine particles) in our air are also of growing concern, with an estimated 1,300 premature deaths in Ireland linked to this pollutant,” it adds. The main threat comes in the form of PM2.5 arising from solid fuel burning.

World Health Organisation guideline values for air quality were exceeded at 33 EPA monitoring stations, “mostly due to the levels of fine particles in our air”. Levels are particularly high during the winter months when elevated use of solid fuels such as coal, turf and wet wood impacts negatively on air quality, especially in towns and villages.

The report notes “any movement towards cleaner modes of home heating fuels will have a subsequent improvement on air quality”.

Source:The Irish Times