Protecting our environment is a huge responsibility, and the EPA works with a number of organisations that carry out specific environmental functions.
The EPA is an independent public body established under the Environmental Protection Agency Act, 1992. The other main instruments from which it derives its mandate are the Waste Management Act, 1996, and the Protection of the Environment Act, 2003.
The Environmental Protection Agency has a wide range of functions to protect the environment.
Regulation - Implement effective regulation and enforcement compliance systems to deliver good environmental outcomes and target those who don’t comply.
How we do it – Through Licensing, Enforcement and Guidance.
Knowledge - Provide high quality, targeted and timely environmental data, information and assessment to inform decision making at all levels.
How we do it – Through Monitoring and Assessment, Research and Reporting.
Advocacy - Work with others to advocate for a clean, productive and well protected environment and for sustainable environmental behaviour.
How we do it – Through Education, Awareness Raising and Behaviour Change.
Find out more about the work of the EPA at www.epa.ie
Irish wind patterns generally ensure that the quality of the air we breathe is good. Nevertheless, modern urbanisation and industrialisation can have negative effects on it. This lesson identifies sources of pollution and the effect that pollutants have on the environment.
This lesson outlines the adverse effects and cost of noise. The EU Directive on Environmental Noise (Directive 2002/49/EC) set out a common approach across the EU to reduce the harmful effects of environmental noise.
Water is a vital resource and, as such, must be protected from the damage inflicted by human activities which can seriously affect its quality. This lesson looks at the various sources of pollution and the process of eutrophication. The requirements of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) are described.
Modern economies produce increasing amounts of waste. In this lesson, categories of waste and their impact on the environment are discussed. There is particular focus on landfill, the most common waste disposal solution in Ireland, and the steps being taken to reduce this reliance.
Any technology whose use is less environmentally harmful than alternatives is called an environmental technology; they are designed to minimise, and if possible repair, damage to the environment.
This lesson examines the over-use of fossil fuels and how this may enhance the the greenhouse effect. It also looks at the use of the earth’s non-renewable resources and considers how greenhouse gases in the atmosphere may be reduced.
A number of factors contribute to changes in the global climate. The effects of such change on temperature, weather and sea-levels are discussed in this lesson.
This lesson looks at the need for clean water and describes the contaminants that can be present. It then describes the processes involved in the purifi cation of water and the tests that are carried out before the water is ready for public distribution.
Fifth Generation (5G) services allow higher data rates – possibly ten times that of 4G but not all phones are capable of using it. In Ireland 5G will be provided on 700 MHz, 3.6 GHz and 26 GHz bands. The different ‘generations’ of phone technology all use parts of the radio spectrum whose energy is much lower than that of visible light.
Low energy ultraviolet can break ozone molecules apart. However, certain chemical species can break not just one ozone molecule but maybe 100,000 of them before they are themselves removed from the atmosphere. They act like catalysts for the destruction of ozone. The principal ozone destroyers are: chlorine and bromine atoms, hydroxyl radicals (OH•) and nitric oxide (NO)
Ireland produces over one million tonnes of food waste every year. About one third of this comes from households, with each producing an average of 700 kg per year or about 2 kg per day. It is estimated that this costs somewhere between €400 and €1000 per household annually. Other waste comes from commercial activities such as production, processing and service (retail, restaurants etc.).
The environment in which we live can influence our health and wellbeing, both positively and negatively. “We benefit much more from clean air, pure water, good food and exercise and strong communities than we do from hospitals, medicines and clinics.”
Today we face potential shortages of food, water, fuel, timber and critical materials. Historical events have been driven by drought, famine and climate events, and continue to be. Our current wasteful use of the limited available resources cannot be sustained.
This lesson outlines the structure and operation of septic tanks. It describes primary, secondary and tertiary treatment processes. Septic tanks are so unobtrusive that they are easily forgotten and this can lead to major problems. All septic tanks must now be registered with the local authority. The EPA supervises the inspection of the tanks by the local authority.
Electromagnetic radiation whose wavelength is less than about 300 nm is called ionising radiation because it can knock electrons off some atoms and molecules causing ions to form, or to be more precise, ion pairs. Ionising radiation can damage bio-molecules such as DNA, causing cells to malfunction or die.