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A €6.7 million EU-backed initiative to combat the effects of pollution on bathing waters in Wales and Ireland has been announced by Paschal Donohoe TD, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and Welsh Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford AM.

The Acclimatize project will help to improve the quality of sea shores in both countries, helping to boost tourism and supporting marine activities, including shellfish harvesting.

Led by University College Dublin (UCD) in partnership with Aberystwyth University, the project will identify sources of pollution and their impact on bathing waters as a result of climate change.

The project has been backed by the EU’s Ireland-Wales cooperation programme and will use and develop a range of technologies, including smart real?time predictive tools to monitor water quality to protect human health and the marine environment.

Paschal Donohoe TD, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, said, “The Acclimatize project represents an important contribution to enhancing the quality and economic sustainability of the shared resource that is the Irish Sea. It is encouraging to see such EU-funded cross-border projects continuing. The Irish Government is committed to the continued implementation of the Ireland Wales programme.”

The Acclimatize project will focus on bathing waters, including Dublin Bay and Cemaes Bay in Anglesey and other beaches. Real-time models will be developed to inform the effects of climate change through altered weather patterns, affecting rainfall, temperature and tides which impact on coastal areas.

Welsh Government Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford AM, said, “Preserving and enhancing the marine and coastal environment in Wales and Ireland for economic prosperity and enjoyment by current and future generations is of vital importance.

“This is another positive example of how EU funds are supporting local economies and communities by helping to mitigate the impacts of climate change.”

Professor Wim Meijer, UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science, who is leading the Acclimatize project said, “Working in partnership with Aberystwyth University, the Acclimatize project will make a significant contribution to developing innovative management systems to protect our coastal waters from the impact of climate change.”

He added, “This will support economic growth through improved water quality which will lead to a range of benefits, such as increased tourism and shellfish harvesting in Ireland and Wales.”