Britain’s rivers are suffocating to death | George Monbiot

Britain’s rivers are suffocating to death | George Monbiot

Water that should be crystal clear has become a green-brown slop of microscopic algae because of industrial farm waste

There’s more below the surface than we thought – something even worse than the water companies’ disgusting habit of filling our rivers with raw sewage. After a deep dive into the data, the team that made Rivercide last week discovered that while sewage now dominates our perceptions of river pollution, it’s not their major cause of death.

On the border between Wales and England, we found a great river dying before our eyes. The Wye is covered by every possible conservation law, but in just a few years it has spiralled towards complete ecological collapse. The vast beds of water crowfoot, the long fluttering weed whose white and yellow flowers once bedecked the surface of the river, and which – like mangroves around tropical seas – provide the nurseries in which young fish and other animals grow and adults hide and breed, have almost vanished in recent years. Our own mapping suggests a loss of between 90% and 97%.

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