Northern Ireland news

TG4 documentary to explore all-Ireland pollinator plan on World Bee Day

A new TG4 documentary is to explore an all-Ireland plan which hopes to reverse pollinator decline by mobilising a citizen's army
Marie Louise McConville

AN all-Ireland plan which hopes to reverse the decline of bees is to be explored in a new TG4 documentary.

Plean Bee, to be broadcast on 'World Bee Day' on May 20, investigates how bees and other pollinators have been declining in Ireland and other countries for decades - as a result of pollution, climate change and disease - and the huge cost to agriculture, wildflowers and trees.

The All Ireland Pollinator Plan (AIPP), which was set up in 2015, is mobilising a citizen's army of gardeners, farmers, community and sports groups, councils and other land owners to become pollinator friendly.

In the documentary, Dr Úna Fitzpatrick from the National Biodiversity Centre, Professor Jane Stout from Trinity College Dublin and Belfast-based biologist Dr Pól Mac Cána explain the role of honeybees, bumblebees and Ireland's 77 species of solitary bee.

While bees are responsible for most pollination, there are also wasps, moths, butterflies and hoverflies to take into account.

The programme examines the damage done to natural habitats when gardens, parks, hedgerows and farmland are over maintained or treated with pesticides.

The delicate balance of nature - the pollination of fruits and crops, trees and wildflowers, in exchange for food and shelter - is breaking down, and pollinators are struggling to survive.

The aim of the AIPP, which was launched by Dr Fitzpatrick and Professor Stout, is to encourage as much of Irish society as possible to take action to protect or develop habitats and food sources.

It has published action plans for every type of citizen activist.

Plean Bee witnesses how Derry City and Strabane Council has reduced the mowing of grass over the summer to allow wildflowers to grow.

The programme also visits a school in Dublin that has implemented pollinator-friendly policies, a Mullingar farm where traditional hedge-laying helps promote biodiversity, and Buncrana town which has transformed how it plants flowers and maintains its roundabouts and parkland to the advantage of bees and pollinators.

Dr Fitzpatrick said: "The beauty about it is that we're not asking `anybody' to solve this problem, we're asking `everybody' to get involved, and if everybody took small actions, then together we would solve it."

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