Live-broadcast documentary from the Wye investigates our rivers

By Dilys Merry
16th July 2021

This week George Monbiot presented a shocking investigation into the state of our rivers – from beside and on the River Wye on the England-Wales border.

The crowd-funded investigation, Rivercide, aimed to find out “who is polluting our watercourses and why we’re not stopping them”. The world’s first live documentary, the film streamed in real-time on a sunny Wednesday evening.

Environment Agency figures published last September tell us that not one lake or river in England is in good health.

Unsurprisingly, the main guilty parties are animal manure and untreated sewage – but more surprising is the inaction when illegal pollution events happen. We found out there are probably 20 million chickens being kept in the Upper Wye and Herefordshire catchment area!

All over the country our rivers and their wildlife are in grave danger, with phosphate pollution feeding massive growths of algae which then blanket the spawning beds, smother the water plants and turn the rivers into ‘pea soup’. Just 4 minutes into the film, aerial photographs show the awful damage caused by the algal blooms in June 2020, with striking before and after shots.

We can make a difference

It’s not all bad news however. The film talks to local people up and down the country who are coming to the rescue of their local rivers and tells us what we can do too. Can you help by:-

With your help we can make change happen!


Foy bridge over the River Wye
Foy Bridge over the River Wye Ian Lawrence