The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publishes seventh State of the Environment report ‘Ireland’s Environment: An Integrated Assessment 2020’
The EPA has recently published its seventh state of the environment report. The aim of the report is to provide an overview of the current condition of Ireland’s environment and whether it is getting better or worse.
The report covers climate, air, noise, soil and land cover, nature and the freshwater and marine environment; and integrated assessments covering waste, the economy/industry, transport, energy, agriculture and the interactions between the environment and human health and wellbeing.
The report found that almost 90% of our energy is generated from fossil fuels giving rise to greenhouse gases; air quality in some urban areas doesn’t meet WHO standards; nature and habitats are being damaged (85% of EU listed habitats are in unfavourable condition) and wetland bird species, such as curlew, are under threat as a breeding species.
In addition, raw sewage is being discharged to water from 35 towns and villages; pristine river water quality is being lost (from over 500 areas in the 80s to just 20 in 2020); nutrient concentrations in rivers and nutrient inputs to the marine environment are increasing; more than one million tonnes of food waste is generated each year in Ireland and littering remains a problem.
Whilst the report does show Ireland going in the wrong direction, there are positives in the report that point towards what can be achieved at a local level in many areas.
The overarching message from the report is that system-wide change is now needed in how we look after our environment.