Farmers 'vital' in keeping water clean

Farmers are making a significant contribution to the drive to keep the environmental quality of Irish water high, according to the Irish Independent.

Thousands of farmers are trying to prevent pollution of rivers and streams near their land

Thousands of farmers are trying to prevent pollution of rivers and streams near their land

The newspaper states that this role is highly important for Ireland, as the country's water-based activities, such as cruising and fishing, attract a quarter of a million tourists annually.

Nearly 60,000 farmers help to protect water quality by taking part in the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food's Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS), which includes fertiliser management, helping Irish water resources to stay clean.

REPS participants are required to "protect and maintain all watercourses and wells", the government department says.

Meanwhile, improving farm facilities are revealing the total effect of diffuse pollution on water, an issue that is being addressed by the European Union (EU) Water Framework Directive, created in December 2000, the Irish Independent notes.

A recent report from the Environmental Protection Agency showed that the majority of Irish bathing waters now meet mandatory EU standards.

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