In the UK annual water treatment costs us £1.2billion (The National Ecosystem Assessment, 2011)
Every day, damaging pollutants and chemicals are allowed to enter our water systems. They wreak havoc on our wildlife, and the mess they create is difficult and expensive to clean up.
End-of-pipe solutions aren’t sustainable
Water companies spend a lot of money removing pollutants in the water treatment works that come from agriculture, industries and our homes – this is an end-of pipe solution. It’s like taking painkillers for a broken leg. The pain may go away temporarily, but the problem remains.
We’re working towards a system where pollutants are dealt with at the source:
- the use of less harmful alternatives to polluting chemicals and fertilisers is encouraged
- methods of best practice are adopted, to prevent and reduce diffuse pollution
- natural solutions, such as treatment wetlands, are used where appropriate. Through natural processes, these water bodies can capture and neutralise pollutants, acting as a filter
- the polluter pays principle is applied and enforced
- urban and wastewater pollution are tackled, including from transport and sewage overflows
- mineral extraction is done in a way that does not harm water sources
- invasive species are humanely removed and prevented from establishing.
“I think the environment should be put in the category of our national security. Defence of our resources is just as important as defence abroad. Otherwise what is there left to defend?” – Robert Redford