Photo of water running over rocks in the shallow area of a river. By pure-julia on Unsplash

On Tuesday 22nd March 2022, World Water Day, ELF and Imperial College London will be holding an all-day in-person/online event built around the communities ELF works with and driven by the water pollution problems that they are experiencing. We have a wonderful array of speakers lined up from across the UK and are delighted that Philip Dunne MP, Chair of the UK Parliament Environmental Audit Committee (EAC), will be providing an Opening Address.  

The EAC’s recent report on water quality in rivers highlights the ‘chemical cocktail’ of pollution in England’s rivers. Alongside this, Environment Agency figures show that only 14% of the country’s rivers met good ecological status and no river met good chemical status. The event will explore the impact of sewerage and industrial pollutants/outfalls along with diffuse pollution sources and agricultural nutrients. The aim of the day is to identify the key environmental issues affecting UK communities that are in close contact with rivers and waterways and to scope the barriers and opportunities to their resolution from the communities’ perspective.  

ELF has been working with communities and NGOs across the UK affected by increased pollution of our waterways. In addition to an outline of the law and policy governing this area, and the results of new research into water pollution by Imperial, we will be hearing from groups such as: 

  • Hayling Sewage Watch, who have been leading the way on addressing coastal pollution on the South Coast, and their mechanisms for engaging in citizen science. 
  • The London Waterkeeper and their efforts to confront diffuse water pollution in the Thames. 
  • Those campaigning to prevent agricultural nutrient pollution in the River Wye. 
  • Sussex Wildlife Trust on the Help our Kelp project and how a bye law to stop trawling along the foreshore of the South Coast will improve kelp growth.

These are just some of the fantastic speakers that will be participating. We are looking for positive solutions for an increasingly aware and engaged public audience.  

Emma Montlake, ELF’s Joint Executive Director and Head of Casework, commented: 

“The recent and timely Environmental Audit Committee report on water quality in rivers identified as one of its findings that there needs to be engagement and action from many interested stakeholders, including citizens. We hope this event will be well placed to engage communities.”  

The event is FREE but places must be booked. This will be an in-person event in London but it will also be possible to participate online. Lunch will be provided for those attending in person.  For more information about the event and to book your place see: here.  

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