New Report Reveals ‘Desperate State’ Of UK Rivers

Animal agriculture is a leading cause of water pollution in the UK


2 Minutes Read

Protestors against pollution in the River Wye The state of the UK's rivers is "desperate" - Media Credit: Steven May / StockimoNews / Alamy Stock Photo

A new report from The Rivers Trust lays bare the “desperate state” of the UK’s waterways.

Among other stark findings, the report reveals that no single stretch of river in England or Northern Ireland is in good overall health.

Animal agriculture is a leading cause of water pollution in the UK. Farming contributes towards nearly two thirds of river failures, the report notes, impacting 2,337 river stretches.

Earlier this month, the charity River Action took the Environment Agency to court for failing to stop chicken manure polluting the River Wye.

“Desperate” times for UK rivers

The River Severn in England, where 85% of rivers fall below ecological standards
Adobe Stock The UK’s rivers fail basic ecological standards

As well as no English rivers being in good overall health, the report found that 85 percent of river stretches fall below good “ecological standards.” More rivers got worse than better since the last report in 2019.

Animals suffer from the UK’s poor water quality too. Some struggle to find food or the right habitat because of “cloudiness.” Moreover, excess sediment from soil erosion “can clog the gills of fish.”

Water pollution part of animal agriculture’s destructive legacy

The rise of “mega-farms” has increased the amount of manure polluting the UK’s rivers. Animal agriculture is causing environmental woes around the world.

From deforestation in the Amazon to environmental racism in the US, farming animals has devastating impacts on people and planet.

Animal agriculture is responsible for at least 16.5 percent of GHG emissions. It is also a major drain on water and other resources.

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