All rivers flow to the sea

Kirsty Brown

Over the last two weeks we have been celebrating National Marine Week, highlighting the wonderful wildlife found in UK seas. However, populations of marine wildlife have been shown to have plummeted by around 50% over the past 40 years, from research by WWF. As a landlocked county we can still all do our bit to help these amazing and diverse marine habitats and threatened species recover.

Plastic pollution

It’s been hard to miss recent news about our plastic waste. Did you know for instance, that WWF also predict that by 2050 there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish? You can help put an end to the plastic surge by cutting out single-use, everyday plastics right now. Some simple swaps include:

- Bamboo toothbrushes made from sustainable bamboo are an easy way to ditch the excess plastic. 

- Beeswax (or soy wax) wraps do a great job of covering pots and bowls rather than clingfilm, and are also useful for wrapping foods like sandwiches and cut veg.

- Out and about? - Carry your own cutlery, tupperware and paper straw. Taking 5 minutes to make your own picnic can also help you avoid the pesky plastic of the meal deal.

- You may be surprised to hear that many teabags have plastic woven into the fibres, or are sealed with a plastic-based glue. A quick internet search will show you which brands are plastic-free.

There are lots more ideas for going plastic free here.

River Reflector

Eating out?

Choose sustainable seafood. Our fish populations are declining due to overfishing, poor management and our own consumption habits. Did you know the Marine Conservation Society have a good fish guide (on their website and as a downloadable app) to find out which fish are the most sustainable (Green rated) and which are the least sustainable (Red rated).

You can also try to use Marine Stewardship Council certified fish and chip shops or persuade your own local chippy to sign up. 

Eco friendly products

Some of our favourite washing-up liquids and cleaning products can be harmful to wildlife with long-lasting effects. These chemicals end up down our drains when we wash up or clean our kitchens and bathrooms, flushing them straight into rivers and seas. 

- Check product ingredients for microbeads especially items that claim to polish, add extra shine or shimmer. 

Here are some of the most commonly used plastics in cleaning products to look out for and avoid:

  • polyethylene (PE)
  • polypropylene (PP)
  • polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
  • polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA)
  • nylon (PA)
Basking Shark

Basking shark - Alexander Mustard/2020Vision

- Take a peek at your clothing labels. Chances are a lot of your clothing is made of synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon – all types of plastic. Shorter wash cycles, or purpose-made microfibre-catching laundry bags can minimise the impact.

- Don’t forget about your personal care items like toothpaste, face scrubs and other cosmetics. These all go down the drain, too! There are lots of eco-friendly options available. 

What are we doing?

The county of Shropshire has over 3,846 miles of water course from the tiniest of brooks to the mighty Magnificent Severn which flows directly into the Bristol Channel. Creating healthy waterways in Shropshire is a priority for us and our rivers team is working on several projects and campaigns to increase water quality and raise awareness. Last year 350 landowners engaged with us and are now working in partnership with us to reduce river and stream pollution.

- Download our River Health Checker App to monitor the quality of your local waterway and let us know of any river pollution incidences.  

- Come along to an event and learn more about the work we are doing. Our next event looking at this is at the end of August (members only). It will focus on how we are using natural techniques to manage flooding and raise water quality. Find out more about this event here. 

If you aren't a member then please do consider joining us. We work hard to ensure our rivers thrive and need the continued support from members to run many of our projects. 

Jon Hawkins - Surrey HIlls Photography