Saturday, August 31, 2019

Save the Chalk Streams of England!

The number one top priority of our age must be the environment. We see the heroic efforts of the likes of Greta Thunberg to push reluctant leaders to doing the right thing at a time when the Greenland ice cap is melting and the Amazon burns.

But there is an environmental problem much closer to home that needs attention too, namely our chalk streams. Of the 210 known globally, the vast majority of them, 160 in total, are in England. They represent a unique and precious environment.

Yet the vast majority of them are in poor state due to water extraction and pollution, typically sewage but also agricultural waste. These include the Cam (above) and the Nailbourne (Little Stour). This map from a report by the WWF shows the state of the rivers at the time it was written:

Since then things have only got worse, and a more recent version of this map can be found here. This shouldn't happen as the Environment Agency exists to manage our rivers - a task for which it has clearly failed.

One pushing for change is Feargal Sharkey, once of the Undertones, who is now campaigning on behalf of these lovely rivers, and you can follow him on Twitter here.

A good summary of the problem can be found in this article in the Observer.

Save our Chalk Streams!!


Alden Smith said...

Is the main photo of the 'Mathematical' bridge on the River Cam in Cambridge?

JP said...

Well spotted, yes it is!

Tillerman said...

Which is of course at Queens' College, Cambridge - my college! I wonder how many times I walked across that bridge in the 3 years I was there. Probably a few thousand?

JP said...

I went over a lot less than that! Once to go and play croquet on the Queens court