- Land Area: 8,193,173 Hectares (20,230 sq miles)
- Length: 290 miles, 467 km (Malin Head to Mizen Head)
- Width: 171 miles, 275 km (Howth Head to Slyne Head)
- Coastline: 1,738 miles, 2,796 Km
- Highest Mountain: Carrauntoohil, Co Kerry, 1,041m
- Longest River: The Shannon, 224 miles, 360 km
- Largest Lake: Lough Neagh, 147 sq miles, 381 sq km
- Average Annual Rainfall: 1,100 mm
- Natural Resources:
Natural gas, peat, copper, lead, zinc, silver, barite, gypsum, limestone, dolomite
- Primary Sources of Energy:
Oil (56%) Natural Gas (22%) Coal (13%)
- Household & Commerial Waste: ~2.5 million tonnes/annum
- Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Kilotonnes, 2002):
Carbon Dioxide 45,808, Methane 603, Nitrous Oxide 32
Ireland’s Environmental Challenges
While Ireland still has a relatively clean and healthy environment, it is under increasing pressure to maintain this situation.
Unprecedented economic growth, an expanding population, changes in industrial and agricultural outputs and methods and an increasingly consumerist society all have significant environmental implications. Issues of waste management, waterway protection and preservation of the rural landscape have been very much under debate in recent times.
More and more people spend more and more time commuting, which has an obvious environmental impact. With increased urbanisation come issues of noise pollution, air and water quality and the gradual creep of urban areas into the countryside.
The body charged with protection of Ireland’s environment, the Environmental Protection Agencey (EPA) have identified the main challenges in the years ahead as being:
- Meeting Ireland’s international commitments on air quality and gas emissions
- Maintenance of water quality, in particular eutrophication prevention and control
- Developing improved waste management systems
- Better integration of environmental and natural resource considerations into the policies, plans and actions of all economic sectors
- Improving the enforcement of environmental legislation.
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