UCD to lead €6.7m project to identify pollution black spots in Irish Sea

12 Oct 2017

Image: LOGVINYUK YULIIA/Shutterstock

UCD is to lead a new Irish-Welsh climate change research project with the goal of improving the quality of coastal waters in the region.

University College Dublin (UCD) is teaming up with Aberystwyth University as part of the Acclimatize project, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales Programme 2014-2020.

With a fund of €6.7m, the project will be spread over the next five years to identify pollution streams and their impact on coastal waters, in both urban and rural settings, and the impact of climate change on pollution.

Once it gathers the data, it hopes to create real-time models to inform the effects of climate change through altered weather patterns, including rainfall, temperature and tides, which impact the quality of water in coastal areas.

The research teams involved in Acclimatize will aim to develop greater prediction tools that will be compliant with regulations to protect human health and the marine environment.

At-risk areas identified

The project has identified and will focus on ‘at-risk’ bathing areas, including the urban environment surrounding Dublin Bay and the rural surroundings at Wiseman’s Bridge, Newquay North and Aberystwyth South in Wales.

Previous fieldwork in the Anglesey region earlier this year has already led to accurate predictive modelling of pollution, which will now be expanded upon with Acclimatize.

UCD president Prof Andrew J Deeks welcomed the news, saying: “The ability to sustain our environment, to use natural resources wisely and to manage waste is central to our society and economy.”

UCD head of the School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science, Prof Wim Meijer, added: “Improvement of bathing waters is often complicated, or prevented altogether, by a lack of knowledge of the pollution streams that contribute to non-compliance.

“Climate-proofing of regulatory and infrastructural decisions affecting bathing water quality is therefore a policy challenge urgently needing the policy evidence base, which we will provide in the Acclimatize project.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic