The Daily Telegraph
Mears: I won’t canoe in our polluted rivers
RAY MEARS has said that some of Britain’s rivers are so heavily polluted he will not canoe in them.
The television presenter and environmentalist told the i newspaper the state of some of the UK’S waterways is “heartbreaking”.
He said: “I have seen rivers full of effluent, bubbling like they are full of detergent.
“I’m a canoeist and there are some rivers I wouldn’t put a canoe in ... which is how bad it is in some places.”
Mears, 57, added he loved to “jump in and swim” in rivers after a day’s canoeing – but the opportunity to do so was being “lost” because of Britain’s stinking waterways.
The woodsman forged his career teaching wilderness survival techniques and bush craft, but is known for his fearless exploring and love of the environment.
He has latterly become a spokesman for treating the environment responsibly.
According to data analysed by Top of the Poops, a clean rivers campaign group, water companies pumped raw sewage into the River Calder in Yorkshire for 27,901 hours in 2021.
The River Severn is said to be Britain’s most polluted river, with nearly 29,000 hours of sewage discharge throughout the year.
The River Wye and the River Clyde are among 20 UK rivers the Wildlife Trust has said face particular threat from pollution that has been closely linked with causing death in wildlife and with illnesses in humans.
Just 14 per cent of Britain’s rivers are considered to be in a “good” ecological condition, and the Environment Agency says that could drop to 6 per cent by 2027.
Last year, campaign groups called for Defra to include a target to improve overall water quality. Defra said it has increased transparency on sewage by making water companies monitor and publish more data on overflows.
The number of monitored overflows has increased from 800 in 2016 to more than 12,000 in 2020.