Archive for the ‘Other stories’ Category

Scientific paper based on the Forever Pollution Project

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A scientific paper based on the Forever Pollution Project on PFAS was published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters. A researcher said: “We used the data to study the relationships between PFAS soil concentrations and point sources. An AI-driven predictive model was developed that enabled us to generate a map of PFAS soil concentration over the entire European soils. The map provides important insights (or better to say, warnings!) into the scale of PFAS contamination in soils in Europe, and we discuss the implications in relation to seepage water concentrations as well.”

Watershed shortlisted for British Journalism Award

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Watershed has been shortlisted for a British Journalism Award for its work on PFAS forever chemical pollution. The awards celebrate the best public interest reporting of 2023 and Watershed has been fortunate enough to make the shortlist under the environment category alongside some great journalists doing important work.

Scientists call on ministers to cut limits for ‘forever chemicals’ in UK tap water

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Acceptable levels of “forever chemicals” in drinking water should be reduced tenfold and a new national chemicals agency created to protect public health, the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) has told the UK government.

The RSC has produced a map using data published in the Guardian with Watershed Investigations in February, revealing that a “third of the watercourses tested contain medium- or high-risk levels of PFAS, according to the DWI’s own classification system”.

Government slammed over sewage pollution

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Watershed appeared on BBC News to discuss fresh reports that water companies appear to be dumping raw sewage into rivers in breach of their permits. Separately, Watershed was also asked to explain to BBC News viewers why the Office for Environmental Protection has announced that Defra, the Environment Agency and Ofwat may have all failed to comply with the law over their regulation of sewage pollution.

PODCAST: ‘It’s killing us slowly’: water rationing in Cape Town

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Cape Town teeters on the edge of Day Zero – the time when water will no longer flow from its taps. But poorer residents are first the feel the thirst and say water rationing is slowly killing them. Rachel and Leana speak to Cape Town residents, including Faeza Meyer from the African Water Commons Collective, about the desperate situation, and interview Professor Hannah Cloke from the University of Reading, whose new study shows that it is the ‘elite’ – people who have swimming pools and large gardens – who are driving water crisis just as much as climate change and population growth.

In each episode, investigative journalists Leana Hosea and Rachel Salvidge bring you tales from the frontline of the water crisis, interviewing:

  • Somone on the frontline of the water crisis who is experiencing first hand pollution/drought/floods/extinction events and diseases driven by climate change and bad management.
  • A world class expert, who can shed light on the causes and solutions to the issue in hand.

Watershed makes 2023 Rivers Warriors list

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Each year, the Lewis Pugh Foundation selects their River Warriors – people who “dedicate themselves to restoring, protecting, recognising and defending our precious river systems”.  Watershed is honoured to feature on the list alongside some incredibly inspiring people.

Fury as national health check of England’s waters faces six-year wait

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The government quietly released partial data on the health of England’s water bodies, opting not to undertake any testing for problem chemicals, or to assess the condition of any groundwater, coastal, estuary or canal waters until 2025. The last full assessment of England’s water bodies was completed in 2019 and while the drop in testing is in line with the Water Framework Directive guidelines, choosing to do so at time when pollution is widespread and public concern at an all time high, is questionable.

Firm releases almost 800kg of ‘forever chemical’ a year into Lancashire river

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Exclusive: A chemicals company is releasing large quantities of a PFAS “forever chemical” described as being “very persistent, mobile and toxic” into the River Wyre in Lancashire each year, and is not breaking any rules.

PFAS pollution in drinking water and rivers

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Watershed Investigations takes to the Thames for Sky News’ Climate Show to talk about PFAS pollution in drinking water, rivers, sediments and fish.



‘Concerning’ levels of forever chemicals found in UK fish

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Flounder, dab and plaice have been found to contain highly-persistent industrial pollutants.

Testing of “forever chemicals” in England’s wild fish has found high levels of an industrial pollutant that if eaten more than twice a year would exceed recommended EU safety guidelines.

Per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of nearly 10,000 chemicals that are used in many household goods such as non-stick cookware, waterproof fabrics, personal care products and stain-proof coatings on carpets.

Data obtained by Watershed Investigations – a team of journalists investigating water issues, and shared with the PA news agency – shows contamination in flounder, dab and plaice throughout England’s river and coastal habitats, with the highest readings in the Thames, Mersey and Wyre.

Click here to view and download the fish data.

Watershed - Investigative Journalism