Time to save our waterways


Sir, – It was with great interest and deep frustration that I read about the demise of the beautiful Lough Carra in Co Mayo (Margaret Ward, “Time is running out for Lough Carra”, Science, June 7th). This 4,000-acre lake really is one of a kind in terms of its truly breathtaking turquoise waters, exceptional trout and magnificent flora. It is being slowly but surely destroyed by nutrient enrichment from agricultural run-off, like so many of our treasured waterways.

In Cavan, Lough Gowna, Lough Ramor, Lough Oughter and the brown-trout wonder that is Lough Sheelin are all suffering greatly from the same fate. As a country we need to invest in our green image rather than just boasting about it. It’s time for the State and the relevant stakeholders to develop a comprehensive network of municipal anaerobic digesters to take the unwanted slurry and manure from our ever-increasing national herds.

At present there is simply nowhere to put the unwanted waste, except on the already saturated land. Anaerobic digestion is being done successfully in other less “green” jurisdictions. These digesters render the waste harmless to the environment. They also could save us from having to pay massive fines to the EU for gross non-compliance with EU water directives.

With political will we can save our marvellous waterways, boost our undeserved green image and increase tourism hugely. – Yours, etc,