A new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA ) Report has revealed that pollution of our environment causes the premature deaths of at least 1,200 people every year.
These deaths represent what failure to maintain a quality environment on the island of Ireland really means.
The EPA looked across dozens of headings from radon to climate change, and from species loss to sustainable economic development.
It is the sixth in a series of reports that present a snapshot of the “state of the environment” with the first published 20 years ago.
The report also found little improvement in coastal or river quality over the last six years with lake water quality getting worse over the same period.
Ireland had set a target of 13.6% improvement in the ecological status of surface waters from the 2009 but had failed to achieve this goal by 2015.
Ireland’s environment was found to be generally ‘good’ but serious underlying signals of concern persist and the significance of climate change could not be underestimated.
While water quality in Ireland compares favourably with our European neighbours and the worst of the worst of our rivers have improved, we have lost the best of the best with only 21 sites now classified as ‘Pristine’ compared to over 500 in the late 1980’s.
Many other significant environmental challenges have been highlighted in the report including localised problems such as poor air quality, the high number of public drinking water supplies on long-term Boil Water Notices and species such as the corncrake and the curlew which are now almost extinct in Ireland.
EPA Director General Laura Burke said ‘”Transformational change is needed to deal with climate change and other risks to our health and natural environment”
Read the full report here