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Monday 18 December 2017

Water pollution puts green image at risk

Michael McHale

THE tourism and fishing industries are in danger if the Government doesn't get tough on treating water, environmentalists said last night.

Environment Minister John Gormley is set to miss today's deadline for submitting management plans for the country's rivers, lakes and coastal waters to the European Commission. The plans have now been delayed until July.

The Sustainable Water Network (SWAN) yesterday voiced its concerns over the 'River Basin Management Plans' after seeing drafts of some of the proposals, which they described as "wholly inadequate".

"Despite the fact that under law they must set out a management plan for all our waters, our coastal waters are being completely ignored," said a SWAN spokeswoman.

According to SWAN, the country's main water pollution problems stem from intensive farming practices and over-developing of land where nearby treatment plants cannot handle the increased sewerage.

The organisation believes that, as a result, Ireland is set to ruin many of its cultural landmarks and damage tourism numbers. "We're losing the image of a clean, green, Ireland. We're killing the golden goose."

The organisation claims that, while it has been in meetings with the Department of the Environment and Mr Gormley, its recommendations have not been acted on.

The final draft of the proposals will include submissions filed by seven districts around the country and signed off on by local authorities before reaching the minister. A spokesman for the department last night said: "We have been in ongoing consultations with SWAN at an official level. They have been assured time and time again that their concerns will be met."

Irish Independent

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