The Green Party has stated that there has been a systematic failure of all responsible agencies to adequately monitor and enforce water quality laws in Ireland.
Speaking following the publication of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPAs) Report on water quality, Green Party Spokesperson for Community Development and Local Government, Cllr Malcolm Noonan, said that the River Basin Catchment Management approach had abjectly failed to deal with the scale of pollution from agriculture and that the influence of inadequate urban waste water treatment on watercourses had happened on the watch of Irish Water.
“We are looking at a whole systems failure here; where all agencies charged with or with a responsibility for the management of our waterways have abjectly failed in their duties. Not alone will our River Basin Management Plans fail to meet targets set for 2021, these plans will actually oversee a serious deterioration of rivers, lakes, estuaries and groundwater since their inception,” said Cllr Noonan.
Cllr Noonan said that with the dairy industry in such profitability, sanctions for over the use of nitrogen were ineffective and that farm organisations needed to show leadership. He said that the issue of phosphorous from waste water treatment plants and septic tanks was of serious concern and that significant capital investment was required by the state to reverse this trend.
“We support the call of the Sustainable Water Network (SWAN) for full resourcing of agencies to implement the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and for a review of River Basin Management Plans nationally to see how they can be strengthened and resourced.
“From the findings of this latest EPA report it is clear that we will fall well short of meeting ‘good ecological status’ for all water bodies by 2021. Supporting catchment led and community based projects towards ecological management of our lands, regenerative farming practices and a massive ramp up in capital investment in urban waste water treatment can reverse this trend but we need to see commitment and a sense of urgency and ambition by the State,” concluded Cllr Noonan.
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