Britain's rivers, some of which were little better than sewers a generation ago, are now at their cleanest for more than a century.Yay! Good news, right?
In the past decade, our waterways have returned to conditions not seen since before the industrial revolution, the Environment Agency says.
Well, Victoria Summerley, in the very same issue, thinks otherwise. She thinks this is just a start:
In the past 20 years, various initiatives have not only helped restore the health of the Wandle but given it a new career. Merton Abbey Mills is now a craft village. At Morden Hall, a former deer park now owned by the National Trust, the river becomes a series of meandering streams, and children play Pooh-sticks on the bridge.Eh..? Hang on, supermarket trolleys?
And the trout are back, released into the river each year by local schoolchildren who raise the fry under the Wandle Trust's Trout in the Classroom scheme.
The trust, in partnership with a whole host of organisations ranging from local boroughs to the Environment Agency and fishing clubs, oversees the health of the river and organises regular clean-ups. These, sadly, are necessary because although the Wandle is no longer polluted by dyes and chemicals, it is used a dumping ground for tyres, supermarket trolleys, and any other items of household detritus people can't be bothered to take to the tip.
Since when was that an item of 'household detritus' that people couldn't be bothered to take to the tip?The 'general public', Victoria? What, all of them?
We may have legislated to prevent industry releasing waste into our waterways but we still have to educate the general public that "river" does not spell "dustbin".
That seems rather wasteful, when you consider the sort of people (i.e. kids) likely to be dumping supermarket trolleys in rivers...