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Every single river in England is now polluted beyond legal limits

Every single river in England is now polluted beyond legal limits

09 August 2023

Sadly, we know that sewage and other pollutants are regularly pumped into our rivers to the point where every single river in England is now polluted beyond legal limits – a very scary statement!

After recent evidence has come to light, there is a calling for the cleanup of waterways to be assisted through the creation of specialised wetlands at sewage plants, on farms, in housing developments and by roads.

Treatment wetlands are specially engineered habitats that absorb and break down the pollutants in water in a low maintenance and cost-effective way, so that it comes out clean once it has passed through them.

This treatment will have the potential to remove up to 90% of nitrogen pollution from agriculture and sewage. They could also remove up to 60% of heavy metals from road pollution and trap up to 90% of sediment run-off, which can block out light from waterbodies.

Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) are calling for a national pilot scheme to be established in the UK by 2025, to make treatment wetlands the default option for meeting new nutrient neutrality targets and to create a nutrient offsetting code.

The widespread use of treatment wetlands could be key to the UK meeting its water quality and biodiversity targets, including helping reduce sewage discharges into rivers and decreasing agriculture pollution – the biggest polluter of our waterways – whilst also bringing back wildlife!