Sunday, 2 December 2012

DIY Pollution?

It is claimed that the popularity of Do It Yourself programmes (and tightness of money?) has encouraged people to do their own house plumbing with sometimes awful consequences to nearby rivers (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/dec/02/diy-plumbing-fouls-rivers). A failure to understand the pipework apparently sometimes leads to thousands of houses (said to be 3000+ in a specified period in the Thames Valley area) discharging raw sewage and the soapy contents from washing machines into rivers (such as the Chess). This can result in eutrophication, death of a range of invertebrates (often important prey species for other animals), exposure of aquatic organisms to sex-change associated chemicals (e.g. contraceptive pill metabolites) and losses of fish species (to the horror of anglers). It is, of course, not impossible that some 'cowboy builders' might achieve precisely the same outcome. Perhaps we need more regular checking of these discharges? One thing is certain namely that buildings can challenge the health of nearby waterways.

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