Monday, March 26, 2012

Government/Citizen Alliances Fighting Pollution Can Make Difference – Trout Are Returning to Rivers in Britain

Actions By People Who Really Care for Leaving a Legacy

One of the many contradictions in policy and actions by so-called Conservatives is that they want to cut government spending and balance the budget because they are concerned about leaving future generations a mountain of debt.  There is an easy test to determine their sincerity; how serious are they about stopping pollution of the environment and cleaning things up.  Leaving future generations a mountain of polluted water, air and ground is far more destructive to them than leaving a mountain of debt.

Actually He is a Lot Happier Now

In England the citizens are starting to see the results of anti-pollution activity in the cleanliness of the rivers.

Increasing numbers of rivers in towns and cities in Britain are now so clean that anglers are fly-fishing in them for trout and grayling, which are specialised clean-water species, a new book says.

Many urban watercourses, polluted by heavy industry since the 19th century, have now shed so much of their pollution that they can support populations of the aquatic insects on which trout and grayling feed, such as mayflies, and fish populations are thriving.

Of course, not all of this is the result of human decency, however late.  A large part of the cleaner water comes from the loss of polluting industries in Britain.

In his book, he describes in detail 50 such rivers, like the River Stour at Kidderminster in Worcestershire, which, he says, was effectively destroyed by the town's celebrated woven carpet industry – fish that survived, such as gudgeon, were stained red and yellow by the dyes from the carpet factory. But now the carpet industry has gone and the water quality is significantly improving, and trout and grayling have returned.

And the biggest, most important river in England, the Thames is still at times an open sewer.

The great exception is the Thames in London, which is still polluted by sewage overflowing from the Victorian sewerage system, whenever there is significant rainfall. "While the Thames is an awful lot cleaner than it was a few decades ago, it still has major problems in that whenever more than 2mm of rain falls in west London, vast quantities of raw sewage get dumped into the river by the antiquated sewage system," Mr Pike says.

The particular sewage problems of the Thames are being dealt with by a special, 24-mile-long, £3.6bn "supersewer" – officially the Thames Tideway Interceptor Tunnel – beginning construction now, for completion sometime after 2020.

But it is encouraging to know that maybe in our lifetimes that great river too will be reclaimed for future generations.  And all of this gives hope that maybe, just maybe people in the United States will come to realize that leaving future generations clean rivers is a little more important than say, giving Mitt Romney a $100 million tax cut by abolishing the Estate Tax.  Or maybe not, it is hard to be optimistic in today’s political climate.  Sorry trout.

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