DUBLIN, (Xinhua) -- Better air quality, improved drinking water quality and increased recycling of packaging waste are some of the changes in Ireland's environmental indicators in recent years, official data showed on Wednesday.
The Central Statistics Office (CSO) said there is an increase in the use of renewable energy and an increase in the numbers of low emission vehicles in Ireland.
These findings are from the Environmental Indicators 2014 report published by the CSO. The report paints a broadly positive picture of progress in Ireland's environment across nine different domains.
Air quality improved considerably in the decade since 2000 with Ireland below the EU national emission ceiling (NEC) directive level for sulphur dioxides, ammonia and non-methane volatile organic compounds in 2012. Only nitrogen oxide levels were above NEC levels in 2012.
The number of new low-emission vehicles has increased substantially since the 2008 introduction of new motor tax rates based on emissions.
Drinking water quality is generally high in Ireland with 99.9 percent of public drinking water supplies and 98.2 percent of group water supplies complying with e-coli standards in 2012.
Almost 20 percent of electricity generated in 2012 was from renewable sources, the report said. This was the 13th highest proportion in the European Union (EU).
The amount of municipal waste sent to landfill fell from two million tonnes in 2007 to 1.3 million tonnes in 2011. Ireland had the seventh highest rate of waste sent to landfill in the EU in 2011.
Ireland had the fifth highest rate of packaging recycling, and the third highest rate of household electrical waste collection in the EU in 2011, in terms of kilograms per capita.
Between 2008 and 2012, Ireland was 2.1 million tonnes above the five year average limit for greenhouse gases set by the Kyoto Protocol. Greenhouse gases per capita in Ireland were the fourth highest in the EU in 2011.