Comments (1)

  1. Edward Redmond says:

    There are a few points here that I believe worthy of mention. They are mainly personal observations, made over the 61 years I have had available to me so far. In this time I have seen our rivers go from disgusting wrecks, to nearly clean enough to drink, then back to the sick state we have managed so far:
    1. I frequently coarse fish on rivers so have seen personally how they have been treated. I grew up on Merseyside. In the 1970s the R. Mersey was devoid of fish due to the water containing 0% dissolved oxygen. Contamination with mercury, copper, and organic waste was rife. The evidence for sewage discharge was plain for all to see, (as youths we called the roughly cylindrical brown fish that always swam downstream, “Mersey Trout”). Swimming during that time would land you in hospital.
    The river was cleaned up by government legislation forcing polluters to stop acting recklessly. It had salmon running again by the end of the clean up.
    2. The R. Wye was similarly cleaned up. However, over the last few years, I have been unfortunate enough to watch the Wye (in Monmouthshire) turn from a beautiful river into a sewer. I never thought Mersey Trout would migrate south to the Wye, but they did and they have remained active now for a few years.
    3. News reports from 2022/2023 showed figures that were startling… According to legislation, discharge of untreated sewage is allowed in exceptional circumstances (emergency situations). The figures indicated that, in 2022 there were well over 100 days on which discharges of untreated sewage were flowed to the Wye. Clearly, emergencies are not supposed to occur on over 1/3 of the days in a given year. Emergencies on 1/10 of days would be pushing credulity.
    4. Water companies were invited to respond to these reports but they didn’t (not at the end of 2022 anyway). Things may have changed by now, but I suspect not. As ever, the cost of commodities (especially essentials like water and power) are minimised by finding ways to get around costs. Hence the relaxation of what constitutes an emergency situation. I suspect that, if we paid the true cost of these commodities, with them produced ethically, we would have significantly less money in our pockets. But then, we would bequeath a sustainable environment to our progeny, which is nigh on priceless.