Healthy rivers, healthy wildlife

Water companies have been urged to “shoulder their responsibilities” by researchers who found that “poor management” of sewage was the main source of microplastic pollution in UK rivers. Meanwhile, Greens in the Lords are considering putting an amendment to the Environment Bill banning water companies from pollluting rivers.

Experts from the University of Manchester’s geography department claimed water firms were not properly treating or disposing of wastewater, causing microplastic particles to sit on riverbeds for “weeks and months” and putting wildlife at risk.

Healthy streams and rivers provide the foundation for thousands of our species in the UK. The maintenance of these waters is not just of utmost importance to the tiny creatures that feed in them and at their edges but also to every other being impacted as nutrients or chemicals are passed up the food chain, ultimately having a harmful impact on our own health.

This research should come as a wake-up call to the government, who for so long have allowed water companies to get away with criminal acts against nature without appropriate sanction.

Microplastic pollution is a serious threat to river wildlife and its presence, alongside unregulated toxic chemical and sewage discharge, has not been sufficiently controlled. The government has the responsibility to to protect our natural environment- and as Greens we would also support an Ecocide Law, to enable swifter legal redress.