Rivers, streams and freshwater wetlands across England, Wales and Northern Ireland are being degraded by widespread agricultural pollution and sewage, according to a new report.
Only 14% of UK rivers meet the criteria for good ecological condition, but in the new survey, 43% of respondents believe the UK’s freshwater system is in good condition.
However, a Troubled Waters report from a coalition of charities including the RSPB, National Trust and River Trust shows that even protected wetlands and rivers rich in wildlife are threatened by pollution, while water restoration is hampered by an effective shortage. Monitoring and enforcement.
Less than half of the Welsh rivers are in good ecological condition, and 28 of the 45 monitored areas on the Wye River are not meeting their target to control phosphorus levels from widespread agricultural pollution. Nevertheless, plan approvals for intensive poultry farms continue, and about 20 million chickens are raised annually in the Wyes River basin.
Only 31% of Northern Ireland’s waters are of good or good quality, and 76% of the lakes in the Upper Lough Erne are classified as poorly as a result of fertilizers flowing into rivers and streams, primarily from agricultural land.
In some areas, sewage endangers wildlife-rich areas. Leighton Moss is the largest reed field in northwest England and is also an area of special scientific interest. There are also 30 heritages that rely on septic tanks and are judged to be threats to spring water. Feeding the wetlands.
The report’s YouGov survey found that while 88% of people agree that the UK’s lakes, rivers and streams are national treasures, only 10% cite agricultural pollution as the number one problem with water quality.
RSPB’s Deputy Director of Policy Jenna Hegarty said: “Many consider our waterways to be national treasures, and the magical sight of otters playing in our streams, dragonflies floating like jewels on lakes, and our otters. It’s no surprise that it’s crazy. A vivid flash of a flying kingfisher.
But nature is in jeopardy, and the incredible freshwater wildlife that people marveled at as they explored the countryside this summer is just a fraction of what should be there. It’s a shame that our waterways have become so polluted and polluted that it has become so normal and that so many people don’t realize that something is wrong.
The report calls for a halt to the discharge of sewage into rivers and tighter fines for companies that pollute the water, but it said there must also be a systematic change to planning systems and legally binding targets for biodiversity and freshwater systems.
Additionally, reports show that enforcement agencies need far better resources to monitor their sites.
In the UK, spending on monitoring protected areas, including freshwater, fell from around 2 million in 2010 to 700,000 in 2019. According to the report, until recently, the average farm in the UK could expect a visit from an Environment Agency official once every 263 years.
Effective enforcement costs in the UK are estimated at $10 million per year.
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