Weekend essay

Britain’s rivers are filthy

The name Chris Whitty will forever be associated in people’s minds with Covid-19. But in a recent cri de coeur he reminded us not only that he continues to exist following the end of his daily appearances on our TV screens, but that there are many other ways in which pathogens are out to get us. In a newspaper piece written with the chairs of Ofwat and the Environment Agency, the Chief Medical Officer raised the subject of Britain’s filthy rivers. While Britain’s environment has improved in many ways, with cleaner air, more trees and some species returning after centuries’ absence, our rivers have defied the trend, being more afflicted with sewage