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New campaign aims to see bathing water standards introduced to UK rivers

Emily Cooper


Today, we're launching our brand new campaign, Together for Rivers. Our goal is to see bathing water standards introduced to well-used rivers across the nation. This will help river users to stay safe from pollution when enjoying the water, while also providing huge benefits for plants and wildlife. In order to achieve this, we want to implement a nation-wide monitoring strategy - but to do this, we need your help.

Please consider making a small donation to support our goal of cleaner, more natural rivers.

Our vision is one of wild, healthy, natural rivers valued by all. The roadblocks preventing this are manifold, but the most insidious of these is pollution. Unlike other countries around the globe, there are currently no designated bathing waters in UK rivers. Popular beaches are given designated bathing water status, which enables beach-goers to evaluate the risk of entering the water. Recreational river users, however, have no such choice. As a result, every time they enter the river, they are vulnerable to an unknown level of risk from sewage pollution. Our goal is to introduce bathing water standards for well-used rivers across the UK. This will enable us to swim, paddle, catch and play without worrying about pollution. Parents can rest assured as their children paddle in the shallows; dog owners can let their pets paddle without worry; swimmers, anglers and canoeists can enjoy their sport with peace of mind. Many people don’t even realise that their local river could be contaminated with sewage. This isn’t a small-scale problem; it happens across the nation, in urban and rural areas alike. When sewers become blocked by non-flushable or overwhelmed with rainwater, water companies are legally permitted to release untreated sewage directly into rivers. While this is often unpreventable, we can give people the power to make more informed decisions about their river use. Together for Rivers swim header This isn’t just about what rivers can do for humans, either. With higher standards of cleanliness, these precious freshwater ecosystems can begin to recover from decades of abuse. Cleaner water will benefit freshwater invertebrates, which will benefit fish, which will benefit birds—a chain reaction of ecological improvement will take place before our very eyes. To do this, we need public donations. Your contribution will help to support a comprehensive national monitoring programme, so we can observe the scale of the problem and provide strong data to back up our case. We need you to use your voices to support this - whether that's by talking to your family about the reality of sewage pollution, or speaking to your MP. We need you to speak up for rivers, to demonstrate their worth and illustrate their importance. It's time to wade in. Together, for rivers.
To find out more, please visit the Together for Rivers campaign page.
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