› Forums › Use Cases for Blue and Green Spaces and Water Quality in Ireland › Blue Spaces – Use Case
This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by John Leech 5 months ago.
17th May 2018 at 12:23 am #663
The Story – The relative benefits of Blue Spaces through a socio-economic lens
Wesley Ireland, a researcher in NUI Galway wanted to carry out research of the health benefits of use of Blue Spaces. Wesley was part of a team that had carried out a literature review that suggested positive health benefits from use of Blue Spaces.
As usage numbers of blue spaces in Galway City were not available, Wesley decided to compare the profiles of people of all ages living in relatively close proximity to blue spaces and those not living in close proximity but also taking into account the relative affluence of different communities within the Galway City boundary. For close proximity, he selected the community along the prom in Salthill and the community around the bay at Ballyloughan strand in Renmore. As examples of communities living further away, he selected the community in Corrib Park in Newcastle and the community along Letteragh Road. He noted that Galway City is coastal and adjacent to a number of inland waterways and water bodies therefore even proximity in terms of distance is relative and may be influenced by water quality status.
Wesley decided to examine three main categories of data; environment data, health data (with an emphasis on mental health) and socio-economic data.
To produce the best results Wesley needed to identify and measure usage and access to blue spaces in the selected areas of Galway City. The measures he used were geographical, cognitive, social, organisational and operational. He also needed to get data relating to the potential health impacts identified in the literature review and classify this using the small area data provided by the Central Statistics Office on social class.
His research focus was a comparison of the health benefits of people in close proximity to blue spaces with those who live further away. However, he also wanted to take into account how socio-economic factors affected the results.
His intention was to develop a comparison methodology using existing software tools to examine the four areas selected that would allow him to examine different health impacts based on the findings of the literature review.
17th May 2018 at 11:06 am #923
One of the greatest barriers to the utilisation of our blue spaces is the lack of education in water safety and the value of these blue spaces to our population. Irish Water Safety has a Primary Schools Programme called PAWS Primary Aquatics Water Safety Programme http://paws.iws.ie The difficulty is that it has to compete on the Department of Education Syllabus with football, hurling, soccer, rugby and other sports. It was accepted by the Department on to the Syllabus in 2003, however we a struggle to roll it out in to schools as Principals tend to support their own favorite sport and water safety and swimming is normally not it!
17th May 2018 at 12:57 pm #1020
The majority of the Public are not aware that they can make submissions in relation to the Bathing Water Directive. For years especially during our financial crash the Local Authorities were not advertising to the public that they can make submissions in relation to a proposed Designated Bathing Area (DBA) a few recent examples below:
We need to encourage the public to make submissions so that we can open up more DBAs and provide more open water bathing facilities. It will have many benefits in our health and well being as well as providing more facilities for our tourism.
In our experience with life guarding it would be very rare to report sickness from a beach, lake or river. Our water quality changed when this Bathing Water Directive came in i.e. the standards of water quality were raised. In other words, where for instance on the River Suir where people swam for years and lifeguards were employed by the Local Authority, overnight the lifeguards were removed from these DBA’s as a result of the higher water quality. There were no know records of people becoming sick there