The majority of our rivers across the UK and Ireland are far from healthy according to a report out today

The Rivers Trust found that no one single stretch of river in England or Northern Ireland is in good overall health.

Just 15% of English, 31% of Northern Irish, and 50% of Irish river stretches reach good ecological health standards and toxic chemicals persist in every stretch of English rivers.

Whilst some of the problems are visible, such as obvious signs of pollution and large artificial barriers spanning bank to bank, many lurk beneath the surface, rendering even seemingly pristine waters far from healthy.

Additionally, inconsistent data availability makes the full-scale of the problems challenging to determine, and exact sources of pollution tricky to pinpoint.

Their report says that if we are to properly address the issues impacting the health of our rivers and create sustainable, long-term changes that benefit our rivers, we need to understand exactly what and where the problems are.

62% of river stretches failed because of activities attributed to agriculture & rural land management (pollution from fertiliser or livestock)

54% of river stretches failed because of activities attributed to the water industry (including treated and untreated sewage discharge, and abstraction of groundwater)

26% of river stretches failed because of activities attributed to the urban and transport sector (such as urbanisation and transport pollutants)  and 39% of river stretches have a failure for which the sector is

The trust’s chief executive, Mark Lloyd, said: “The State of Our Rivers report is a huge passion project for us, as it’s so important to ensure that science and evidence are at the heart of conversations about how to improve our rivers.

“However, it’s also much more than that, as it puts the data in the hands of the public so that they can join us in calling for the change that our environment so desperately needs.”


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