Ireland’s green and blue spaces are essential components of Ireland’s health infrastructure and include urban parks, coasts, lakes and rivers, forests and bogs. The NEAR Health project was jointly funded by the EPA and the HSE to investigate how nature and environment can help society attain and restore health. It investigated
(1) how people value and experience nature, health and wellbeing,
(2) the barriers and bridges to connecting with nature,
(3) what people want from their healthy future environment and
(4) nature-based activities that benefit people’s health and wellbeing
The research has found that using green and blue spaces benefits people’s physical and mental health. Such benefits include increasing physical activity, enhancing mental wellbeing and providing spaces for social interaction.
Findings highlight that green and blue spaces should be protected, maintained and integrated in health, planning and other social and economic development policy.
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