Sewage, slurry and plastic in rivers ‘endangering public health and nature’


A cross-party parliamentary group has said England’s rivers are filled with a “chemical cocktail” of sewage, agricultural waste and plastics, threatening public health and nature.

It said that “outdated, low and inadequate monitoring” has made it difficult to make a full overview of the health of rivers and that until the passage of the Environment Act last year, there was a “lack of political will” to make improvements. water quality.

The committee noted that due to ‘outdated, low and inadequate monitoring’ (PA), it has become difficult to make a complete overview of the health of rivers. , Average PA

Some of the issues raised by the group include monitoring of river quality that does not identify microplastics, persistent chemical pollutants or antimicrobial resistant pathogens flowing through rivers.

Other concerns of the committee include plants, invertebrates and fish being suffocated as a result of a build-up of high levels of nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen from sewage and animal waste, and the extent of sewage discharge, water by misreporting and large spills. companies.

In its report, it said cleaning and sanitation products containing fats, oils and greases, and plastics are also causing problems for drainage systems – while single-use plastic sanitation products are clogging drains and sewage works.

Its recommendations include urging regulatory action, water company investment and Ross-Catchment cooperation to restore rivers to good ecological health.

The committee says OffWat should examine its powers to limit the payment of bonuses to water company officials until the permit violations stop and the Environment Agency should consider creating an online platform where scientists can use water. upload your data at the quality of

Philip Dunne is the chairman of the Environmental Audit Committee (Chris McAndrew / UK Parliament / PA) , Average PA

Philip Dunne, chairman of the Environmental Audit Committee, said: “Rivers are nature’s arteries and must be protected. Our investigations revealed many failures in monitoring, governance and enforcement of water quality. Over a very long time. , government regulators and the water industry have allowed the Victorian sewerage system to succumb to increasing pressure.

“Today, we are calling on these relevant bodies to come together and develop appropriate systems for the future. Monitoring mechanisms need to be reviewed, enforcement needs to be intensified, and even Public awareness also needs to be promoted about what can and can’t be flushed down the drain. Is.