Environmentalists call for marshes and bogs to be protected and restored.

The government has been accused of neglecting the country's wetlands, and environmentalists are urging that existing marshes and bogs be protected, and those that have been damaged, repaired.

Wetlands are areas of marsh, peat or water, either naturally occurring in the landscape or artificially created. They are important because,

They can prevent floods, absorb pollutants and conserve animal life.

Their value is exemplified by one inhabitant, the common frog is used by scientists as a species which acts as an indicator of problems in its surroundings.

Land reclamation and restoration of wetlands are two issues which require immediate attention, says Karin Dubsky of environmental NGO (Non Governmental Organisation) Coastwatch.

Wexford County Council is working with Coastwatch on a pilot project to monitor Wexford’s wetlands, and an exhibition to raise public awareness about these habitats is currently on display at the ENFO (Environment Information Services) office in Dublin city centre.

Landowners will also to be targeted about the benefits that wetland plants such as reeds have for the environment. Paddy Kinsella is already aware of them,

They inject oxygen into the ground, that helps to improve the water quality.

A national biodiversity plan was published this year by the government, and special areas of conservation have been identified throughout the country.

However wetlands which have not yet received this designation do not require planning permission to be filled in. Environmentalists want this to be resolved immediately.

A database of wetlands in Wexford is due to be published this autumn and its hoped that it will,

Kick off public interest in wetlands rather than simply record their demise.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 3 August 2002. The reporter is Paul Cunningham.