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Today 25th September 2020 Is World Lung Day

  • The EPA’s Air Quality Annual report shows that while Ireland’s air quality was generally good during 2019, there were concerning localised issues.
  • There was an exceedance of the annual average nitrogen dioxide (NO2) EU limit value at one traffic monitoring location in Dublin city centre.
  • Air pollutants were above the WHO’s guideline values for health at 33 monitoring stations across Ireland – this is mostly as a result of the burning of solid fuel in our cities, towns and villages.
  • According to latest estimates there are 1,300 premature deaths in Ireland per year which can be attributed to air pollution.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has today launched its annual Air Quality Report 2019, coinciding with World Lung Day (25th September).

The report shows that, while air quality in Ireland is generally good and compares favourably with many of our European neighbours, there are worrying localised issues.

EPA monitoring has shown that, in urban areas, the impact of traffic-related nitrogen dioxide pollution is increasing. In addition, the EU limit value for this pollutant was exceeded at one Dublin traffic monitoring location. The EPA report highlighted that these types of exceedances will continue unless we curb our reliance on fossil fuel powered transport, particularly diesel cars.

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. World Health Organization’s guideline values for air quality at 33 EPA monitoring stations were also exceeded, 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 EPA report notes that any movement towards cleaner modes of home heating fuels will have a subsequent improvement on air quality.

Dr Ciara McMahon, (Director of the EPA’s Office of Radiation Protection & Environmental Monitoring), has stated, “Ireland is renowned for its countryside and clean fresh air, but we can no longer take this for granted. Poor air quality impacts people’s health and quality of life, so it is now time to tackle the two key issues that impact negatively on air quality in Ireland – transport emissions in large urban areas and emissions from burning of solid fuels in our cities, towns and villages. The choices we make affect the levels of pollution in the air we breathe, which in turn affects the health of our lungs, heart and other organs. We need to decarbonise our public transport system and in general reduce our reliance on diesel and petrol-powered vehicles. Moving to cleaner ways of heating our homes will also significantly improve air quality across Ireland.”

Mr Patrick Kenny, (EPA Air Quality Manager), continued, “Air pollutants have a negative impact on people’s health and emissions impact at a local level, in our communities. That is why we are continuing to install more monitoring stations across the country under the National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Programme. With 24 more stations providing online data in 2019, this programme has now almost trebled the number of real-time monitoring stations – to 84 – providing air quality data across Ireland.”

The Air Quality in Ireland 2019 report is available on the EPA website. The EPA continually monitors air quality across Ireland and provides the air quality index for health and real-time results online. Results are updated hourly on the website, and people can log on at any time to check whether the current air quality is good, fair or poor.


14 Million Tonnes Of Waste Generated In Ireland In 2018

‘Fly-Tipping’ on Templetuohy to Johnstown Road, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.
Photo: G. Willoughby
  • Ireland generated 14 million tonnes of waste in 2018 across all sectors.
  • Municipal waste, from household and commercial sources, amounted to 2.9 million tonnes in 2018, up 3.5% on 2017.
  • Ireland’s waste management practices have changed significantly in the past two decades:
  • Landfill disposal has fallen sharply to 14% in 2018,
  • Recycling rates increased steadily in the early 2000s, before stagnating at 40% and declined to 38% in 2018,
  • Waste sent for energy recovery has risen significantly from 7% in 2011 to 43% in 2018,
  • Over one third (35%) of Ireland’s municipal waste was exported for recycling or recovery in 2018 highlighting a reliance on export.
  • We need to decouple waste generation from economic growth and achieve higher levels of recycling and reuse if we are to realise a circular economy in Ireland.

Levels of municipal waste generation in Ireland continue to be closely linked to high consumption levels, as well as a single-use and throwaway culture, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Waste Statistics Summary Report 2018 , which includes the most recent official data on waste generation and management in Ireland.

Ireland continues to generate significant amounts of waste, amounting to 14 million tonnes in 2018. In particular, municipal waste, from household and commercial sources, amounted to 2.9 million tonnes, up 3.5% on 2017. While Ireland achieved high recycling rates in some material streams, such as glass and paper/cardboard packaging, the figures reveal some worrying trends.

Ireland’s recycling rate for municipal waste has decreased to 38% in 2018, having remained stagnant at 40% since 2014. Recycling of packaging waste has declined from 70% in 2013 to 64% in 2018. Ireland also continues to have some significant waste infrastructure deficits and relies on export for a number of key waste streams, including packaging and hazardous waste.

Dr Eimear Cotter. Director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Sustainability, said, “A circular economy is one that is based on less waste and more reuse and recycling of materials that otherwise would be thrown away. These figures indicate that we are going in the wrong direction across a number of indicators, such as falling recycling levels. To get the most from our resources, we need to prevent waste and break the link between economic growth and waste generation. We also need to significantly increase our recycling rates to ensure that Ireland meets ambitious new EU targets in the coming years. Measures that promote better segregation of waste and also expand the range of materials that can be recycled in Ireland will be key to this.”

Over the past decade in Ireland, there has been a welcome decline in landfilling of municipal waste in Ireland, from 62 % in 2008 to just 14 % in 2018. Over the same period, the share of waste sent for incineration with energy recovery has increased substantially from 3% in 2008 to 43% in 2018, reflecting Ireland’s increased incineration capacity since 2011. While these trends indicate some progress has been made in moving waste management further up the waste hierarchy, Ireland’s stagnating recycling rates and continuing high levels of waste generation are a significant cause for concern.

Commenting on the figures, Dr. Tara Higgins, EPA Senior Scientist said, “We welcome that the Government’s new Waste and Circular Economy Action Plan sets out concrete measures to address Ireland’s stagnating recycling rates and continuing high levels of waste generation. We look forward to engaging with and participating in the implementation of the Plan to put Ireland on a path to a circular economy and bring about environmental and climate benefits.”


New Thurles Recycling Centre At Last Opens For Business

It was number 3 of three questions sent to individual Templemore/Thurles Municipal District Councillors, and TD’s, by Thurles.Info some 7 weeks ago, which went for the most part unanswered. The question:- “Which Municipal District Councillor is responsible for delaying the Thurles Recycling Civic Amenity, which this town so badly needs?”

[Note: Question No 2 was previously answered. View HERE.]

Thurles.Info had repeatedly pointed out that staff sent out to check who did or didn’t have ‘Recycling bins’ was a foolish idea and a total waste of tax payers money by Tipperary Co Council. Three seater couches, washing machines and motor mowers etc. do not fit into recycling / waste bins. They do however fit into car tailors and 5 door saloon vehicles; the result major fly-tipping in remote scenic country areas after dark.

Thurles Recycling Centre opens for business

For several years we here at Thurles.Info have sought for a civic amenity site to be operated by the local authority, same to be located here in Thurles. We became aware from those anxious to provide such a service that they were being frustrated by one or more elected local representatives. We are also happy to see that Cabragh-Ballycurrane Residents Association are no longer in dispute and have sorted out their initial objections, lodged back in October 2012.

This week, Thurles elected Municipal District Councillors will be delighted to learn that a new Thurles Recycling Centre has at last materialised, located and easily accessible in the former Thurles Sugar Factory, in an area formerly occupied by Dinan’s Timber yard and Tipperary Pipes.

This new venture is being operated by Mr Ray Nally of the same Killenyarda Construction, and we are informed it will provide a fully regulated and compliant bring-centre, accessible to both home owners, businesses and others wishing to dispose of their waste in a proper environmentally friendly manner.

You can view the new Thurles Recycling Centre website HERE or if you have any queries requiring answers, why not give them a call on TEL: 0504 22826 or 089 6175941.

Note: The Thurles Recycling Centre Opening Hours are:-
Tuesday-Friday: 08.30am – 5.00pm.
Saturday: 08.30 am – 2.00 pm


Irish Dept. Agric. Issue Alert On Threat To Oak Trees.

Oak Processionary Caterpillars

With thousands of people taking to walking in our forests presently greatly benefiting their mental health; the Irish Department of Agriculture has issued an alert, asking that walkers be on the look out for Oak Processionary Caterpillars, latter a pest which feeds on oak tree leaves, causing significant damage.

These caterpillars travel in a nose-to-tail procession (Hence their name – ‘Oak Processionary Caterpillars’) often arrow-headed, by one leader, followed by rows of several caterpillars travelling abreast.

These black and white caterpillars are hairy and are easy to observe visually. Already one nest has been located and eradicated in a Dublin Park, traced back to a recent import of oak trees which arrived here from Belgium.

Oak trees and plants remain a host for this pest, however, same are unlikely to be found on any other of our tree other than the oak.

Concerns now are that this caterpillar will moult into a moth, before then flying unto other host oak trees, to lay their eggs producing the next generation.

It should be noted that these caterpillars are also a human irritant, because of their venomous setae (hairs), which can cause skin irritation and asthma. To this end they should not be touched under any circumstances and any suspected sightings should be notified immediately by emailing plantandpests@agriculture.gov.ie

Why people are importing oak trees from Belgium into Ireland of all places; I totally fail to understand?


Circular Economy Critically Important In Ireland’s Green Recovery

The National Waste Prevention Programme (NWPP) is a Government of Ireland initiative funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and led by the Environmental Protection Agency. Same has been operating since 2004 and delivers a suite of initiatives and supports to reduce wasteful consumption of material, water and energy resources by changing behaviours in businesses, households and the public sector. For businesses, it seeks to enhance competitiveness and reduce business costs by delivering programmes to stimulate the circular economy.

Fostering a circular economy is critically important in terms of Ireland’s green recovery, says EPA

  • EPA publishes the National Waste Prevention Programme 2019 report highlighting activities and initiatives which support the transition to a circular economy in Ireland.
  • Over €400,000 invested through Green Enterprise programme to support innovation and demonstration projects for the circular economy.
  • CIRCULÉIRE, Ireland’s circular manufacturing platform, established – targeting 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and waste production for 30 Irish companies.
  • The partnership with local authorities and public bodies is building national momentum on the circular economy, including 58 local waste prevention initiatives.
  • Over 2 million people reached through communication and advocacy actions on food waste prevention as an effective climate response.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released the 2019 Annual Report on the National Waste Prevention Programme (NWPP) – a Government of Ireland initiative led by the EPA. The report highlights the activities carried out during 2019 to support and promote Ireland’s transition to a circular economy.

In 2019, the National Waste Prevention Programme invested over €1.5m in driving Ireland’s circular economy. Among the beneficiaries were households, communities, farmers and businesses, who have been supported to produce less waste and reduce consumption of valuable finite resources.

Dr. Eimear Cotter, (Director EPA’s Office of Environmental Sustainability) stated, “The National Waste Prevention Programme plays an important role in fostering a circular economy in Ireland through supporting innovation and partnering with other organisations to extend our support and reach. This is critically important in terms of Ireland’s green recovery – supporting job creation, generating economic growth and improving our environment. The concept of a circular economy is gaining momentum with consumers and businesses and the EPA will continue to invest in innovation and to work with others as we progress Ireland along its pathway to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

Notable achievements in 2019 include supporting CIRCULÉIRE, Ireland’s first cross-sectoral industry-led innovation network dedicated to accelerating the net-zero carbon circular economy in Ireland. In addition, community waste prevention initiatives such as public water fountains and green festivals were supported. A new focus in 2019 also involved working with the construction and demolition sector to tackle high-volumes of wastes in this critical sector.

Over 100 million tonnes of materials are used annually in Ireland’s economy. Inefficient consumption and missed opportunities for reuse and recycling lead to high waste generation and greenhouse gas emissions.

Dr. Shane Colgan, (EPA) stated, “In a circular economy, the value of products and materials is maintained for as long as possible; waste and resource use are minimised, and resources are kept within the economy when a product has reached the end of its life, to be used again and again to create further value. By preventing waste and driving the circular economy we can make the most of our resources while protecting the environment.”

Highlights from the National Waste Prevention Programme in 2019 include:-
  • National recommendations published on waste prevention and the circular economy for the construction and demolition sector.
  • Ireland’s circular manufacturing platform, CIRCULÉIRE, established – targeting 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and waste production for 30 Irish companies.
  • Smart Farming worked on 50 farms, identifying 10 per cent greenhouse gas emissions reductions and savings of €6,336 per farm.
Innovation and Demonstration
  • Over €400,000 invested through Green Enterprise programme to support innovation and demonstration projects for the circular economy.
  • 58 waste prevention projects were funded through local authorities such as public water fountains and green festivals.
Communications and Advocacy
  • Over 2.3 million people reached during the promotion of food waste prevention as an effective climate action; and guidance published to help businesses save €300M in food waste costs.
  • The FreeTrade Ireland web-service facilitated householders to exchange and reuse 8,300 items.

The National Waste Prevention Programme is a Government of Ireland initiative. The report can be downloaded from the EPA website.