Waste water issues ‘continue to damage our water quality’
Raw sewage from the equivalent of 88,000 people in 38 towns and villages is still flowing into our rivers and causing damage to streams across the country, a farm lobby group’s environmental chairman has pointed out.
However, the Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) Environment chairman, Thomas Cooney, has also acknowledged the role that farming plays in protecting and enhancing Ireland’s environment.
Responding to a water-quality report issued on Friday, November 30, he expressed his support for comments made by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which recognised that the failure to treat waste water properly continues to damage Irish rivers and coastal waters.
Cooney explained: “Unlike diffuse pollution, which is sometimes attributed to agriculture, this point source pollution from ineffective wastewater treatment plants is known, identifiable and can be resolved.
Addressing this would greatly assist our compliance with water regulations and improve water quality.
Regarding agriculture, Cooney welcomed the recently established water quality advisory service, operated by Teagasc, with Government and dairy co-op support.
He added: “Everyone has a role to play when it comes to protecting and enhancing our natural resources.
“This innovative advisory service has the potential to collaboratively work with the farming community and address water quality challenges, while creating wider community awareness of the value of good water quality.”
He outlined that farm schemes, such as the Green Low-Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS), are focused on improving water quality.
Concluding, Cooney noted: “Almost 50% of measures in the GLAS programme are aimed at improving water quality and over 40% of farmers are in GLAS. In addition, farmers have invested over €2 billion towards bringing farmyards to the highest environmental standards.”