• Leading UK Newspapers Launch Campaigns Against River Pollution

Water/Wastewater

Leading UK Newspapers Launch Campaigns Against River Pollution

Feb 25 2023

Several leading UK newspapers have launched campaigns to raise awareness of and force change on the issue of river pollution. One of the campaigns, run by i and its sister title New Scientist, seeks to deliver a year of news, hard-hitting investigations, in-depth features, films, podcasts, and live events. The aim of the campaign is to reveal the state of the UK's rivers, raise awareness of the plight of the waterways, and draw up bipartisan plans to address the challenges facing British rivers. The campaign comes in response to the alarming state of the UK’s waterways, where water companies are pumping untreated sewage into rivers and seas, leading to serious environmental and health consequences. 

The impact of river pollution has significant economic and political externalities that need to be addressed. For instance, businesses and individuals who rely on clean water for recreational activities, such as fishing and swimming, are adversely affected by river pollution. The impact of river pollution on property values is also significant, leading to lower property values in areas near polluted rivers. In addition, the impact of river pollution on the fishing industry, which relies on clean water to support healthy fish populations, has an indirect impact on businesses such as processing plants, wholesalers, and retailers. 

In many parts of the country, the apparent lack of government urgency to tackle river pollution is already threatening to have an impact at the ballot box, with raw sewage in rivers and seas becoming a key political battleground, especially in home county seats and constituencies along the south coast. The Liberal Democrats have raised the issue as a political priority, and it is now the biggest political issue after the NHS in several areas. 

The campaign also exposes the behaviour of UK water firms that pump sewage into the UK's rivers and seas, while watchdogs such as the Environment Agency and Ofwat often turn a blind eye. Emergency powers to release human waste into rivers and onto beaches, which are supposed to be used only in rare times of crisis, are now routine. The Environment Agency has been quietly dropping most of its prosecutions for serious pollution, despite recommendations from frontline staff that the highest sanctions be pursued. 

The Telegraph, a British newspaper, also has a similar campaign called the Clean Rivers Campaign, aimed at reducing pollution and restoring UK rivers to their natural state. 

In conclusion, leading UK newspapers have launched campaigns to raise awareness of river pollution and demand change from the government and regulators. The campaigns will draw attention to the economic and political externalities of river pollution and call for a robust, cross-party plan to fix the UK's deteriorating water network. The issue of river pollution is a significant environmental and health concern that needs to be addressed urgently.  


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