According to the latest European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register for large industrial facilities released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the energy, mineral, and chemical sectors reported their largest quantity of pollutant releases in 2013.
However, the report found there was an 11% reduction in pollutants released from the energy sector, while the mineral sector showed a reduction of 5%. There was no significant change in the chemical sector.
ESB Moneypoint reported the largest quantities of carbon dioxide releases in 2013, but has cut its release of the gas by 9% compared to 2012. The EPA said this can be attributed to more renewables and fewer carbon-intensive fuels being used in electricity generation in 2013.
Releases of ammonia to air were found to be predominantly from the intensive agriculture sector and fell marginally by 2% in 2013 compared to 2012.
The main pollutant releases to water included total nitrogen, and total phosphorus. The release of total phosphorus rose by 7% compared to 2012, which is attributed to higher releases reported from a number of the large urban wastewater treatment plants.
Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Plant in Dublin saw the largest quantities of total nitrogen and total phosphorus releases in 2013.
EPA programme manager Jonathan Derham said the figures reflected a positive downward trend for some of the key pollutants released by large industry here.
“This is particularly notable in terms of releases to air from the energy sector,” said Dr Derham. “Here, we are seeing the impact of higher penetration of renewables in power generation in addition to the improvements in abatement measures over the last number of years.”
Dr Derham said results were more mixed in terms of the release of pollutants to water, with large urban wastewater treatment plants the main offenders.