- Campaigners and environmental NGOs including River Action and the Radnorshire Wildlife Trust are asking the public to help save the UK’s rivers by donating to a vital citizens science project.
- The citizens science monitoring project, ran by local environmental activists, collects water samples and measure levels and types of pollution along all stretches of the River Wye and its tributaries, such as the River Lugg.
- The project is now in need of funding to pay for the equipment used to collect samples and measure pollution levels.
According to research from Natural Resources Wales, over 60% of the River Wye catchment is failing to meet pollution targets. Evidence submitted to the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee by Lancaster University’s RePhoKUs project showed that the Wye’s soils are now carrying an unacceptable surplus of three times national average phosphate levels. This is widely seen as the cause of the recent algal blooms which have suffocated river life resulting in the loss of 95% of the rivers ranunculus weed over the last three years. The declining health of our nation’s rivers has also been monitored by citizen scientists who have been carrying out their own research on the water quality of the Wye catchment.
The aim of this work is to collect data that highlights the need for change from Government, local authorities and regulatory agencies to tackle the river pollution crisis. Every single river in England is polluted beyond legal limits and in Wales, only 44% of rivers fail to meet ‘good ecological status’ which campaigners have linked to the budget cuts suffered by the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales. As a result, citizen scientists are carrying out their own research to make up for the lack of data being produced by environmental regulators.
The citizen science project working to monitor and collect data in the River Wye and the River Lugg requires vital funding to pay for the equipment used to collect samples and measure pollution levels. River Action has launched a campaign asking for the public to donate money to support the continuation of this project. Money raised will also enable the Radnorshire Wildlife Trust to employ a team member to manage and scale the project. This will allow the Citizen Scientists to reach more of the River Wye’s tributaries and gather more samples to highlight the scale of the river pollution crisis.
Charles Watson, Chairman of River Action said:
“Our Citizen Scientists are essentially the front-line troops in the war against the pollution crisis facing our rivers. We are thrilled to be supporting this critical project across the Wye Catchment and urge all our supporters to donate to this crucial research if they are able. It doesn’t matter how small the donation: every £ will make a difference. The data these projects produce is vital to the fight against river pollution, giving us the crucial information needed to show Governments and polluters the shocking extent to which our rivers are dying”.