The government is looking the other way while Britain’s rivers die before our eyes | George Monbiot

Across the UK, once thriving waterways are being wiped out by farming and water companies

You can judge the state of a nation by the state of its rivers. Pollution is the physical expression of corruption. So what should we conclude about a country whose rivers are systematically exploited, dumped on and bled dry?

I’m writing from the Welsh borders, where I’m supposed to be on holiday. It’s among the most beautiful regions of Britain, but the rivers here are dying before my eyes. When I last saw it, four years ago, the Monnow, a lovely tributary of the River Wye, had a mostly clean, stony bed. Now the bottom is smothered in slime and filamentous algae. In the back eddies, the rotting weed floats to the surface, carrying the stench of cow slurry.

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The government is looking the other way while Britain’s rivers die before our eyes | George Monbiot