I have walked the banks of the Severn all my life and I have witnessed first-hand the changes, subtle or more obvious, that have affected the river.
Sadly one of the more obvious changes is the increase in plastic waste which pollutes our rivers, threatens our wildlife and finds its way back into our food chain.
Over the years a tremendous amount of work has been done to clean up our rivers, transforming them into places that can be enjoyed by everyone. The Environment
Agency and numerous organisations, both voluntary and professional, work continually to manage and maintaine our waterways. It therefore seems a
tragedy that we are destroying our environment as quickly as we are trying to improve it.
The problem becomes obvious during floods when plastic waste from towns and cities is picked up and finds its way into our river systems. As the floods subside some
of it is left on riverbanks and some of it travels dowstream to the estuary and eventually into the sea. During the summer months, vegetation grows over a lot of waste making it difficult to see.
Our waterways are showing the symptoms of a growing problem which will only get worse unless we take positive steps to tackle it.
More than 13 billion single-use plastic bottles are sold in Britain each year, an average of 200 per person!
Almost all drinks manufacturers use thin, single-use plastic bottles and only about half are recycled. Many of them find their way into landfill sites and many are carelessly discarded as you have no doubt seen.
I took these photographs on the Severn but it's a common sight on many other rivers.