Will it work?
Each of the proposals in this “Capital Ideas” series has been put to a group of three experts for an initial “back of an envelope” evaluation. They are: Frances Ruane, former director of the Economic and Social Research Institute; Caroline Spillane, director general of Engineers Ireland; and Cliff Taylor, Irish Times economics columnist.
Localised pollution by individuals is a major issue that must be addressed. To assist with the “health of the Liffey”, education programmes should promote awareness and appreciation of large and small rivers and waterways.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has an important role to play: approximately one third of our major rivers and their more important tributaries are surveyed and assessed each year by its ecologists.
Dubliners have fantastic amenities with the coast, mountains and rivers which flow from them. Investing to protect this makes sense and not just because it is a “nice” thing to do. Tens of millions, rather than hundreds, could achieve a lot. The gains are hard to quantify, but if it reduces flooding and has biodiversity benefits, a case could be made.
This idea focuses on the hidden environment that impacts the Liffey at the heart of the capital. We are gradually taking pollution more seriously but there is a distance to go. There is not much the city can do about this without the support and focus of the EPA.