THE ongoing confusion around the status of Killarney National Park as a Unesco world biosphere reserve and efforts to extend that status to an area five times the size of the current park epitomise our less than admirable and too often dishonest attitude towards the environment.
We seem to want the marketing benefits and revenue such an enviable status might confer but are far less enthusiastic about observing the disciplines around habitat protection and waste management that status, if it is to be secured on a long-term basis, requires.
As is usual, we seem to want to have it both ways.
Late last year Irish Wildlife Trust asked the United Nations agency to suspend the designation of Killarney as a biosphere reserve because of lax management of the area, some of which is heavily polluted or over-run with destructive, invasive Rhododendrons. The lakes are far less than pristine and are, in areas, being choked by invasive species of weed. Wildfires, believed to be set by farmers, are a regular occurrence. Maintaining that international status means that regular reviews of the condition of the park must be submitted to Unesco but since the park was granted that status 35 years ago not one National Parks and Wildlife Service review has been submitted to Unesco. Not only does this attitude leave areas like Killarney National Park, areas we should all cherish, vulnerable, it shows what idiots we can sometimes be.
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