Pollution is the biggest threat to wildlife on our British rivers

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Only 14 percent of rivers meet standards for good ecological status in England, it was said.

The poor health of many of our rivers has a significant impact on nature, causing many species to decline and face extinction.

These include otters, the swallowtail butterfly and salmon.

Nearly nine in 10 Britons said our freshwater habitats are a “national treasure” and 87 percent want more to be done to protect them, according to a YouGov poll.

Jenna Hegarty, RSPB’s deputy director of policy, said: “It is no surprise so many people think of our waterways as a national treasure and revel in the magical sight of otters playing in our streams, dragonflies hovering like jewels above our lakes and the vibrant flash of kingfishers in flight.

“But nature is in crisis and the incredible freshwater wildlife people marvelled at as they explored our countryside this summer is a fraction of what should be there.

“It is disturbing how it has become so normal for our waterways to be polluted and contaminated, and that many people do not realise there is something wrong.

“Governments must demonstrate leadership and act with urgency and ambition to bring our waterways back from the brink of collapse and revive our world. Without this, some of our best-loved species face an increasingly uncertain future.”

The Daily Express Green Britain Needs You campaign has called on everyone to do their bit for the planet.

The new Troubled Waters report released today, in partnership with The Rivers Trust and the National Trust, urgently calls for the Government to introduce measures to slash pesticides and excess fertilisers, and ban raw sewage from reaching our rivers.

Mark Lloyd, chief executive of The Rivers Trust, said: “This should send a clear signal to government and businesses to start prioritising nature-based solutions to improve the state of our rivers.”

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