Journalist George Monbiot is teaming up with campaigning film-maker Franny Armstrong for a live investigative documentary about the shocking state of Britain’s rivers, and what can be done to clean them up. Every river, lake and stream monitored in England is polluted. Monbiot said: “Our rivers should be beautiful, complex ecosystems. But on our watch, they’ve become open sewers, poisoned by sewage and farm slurry. They’re dying before our eyes.” Rivercide will be streamed live online, as it happens, in July this year. Monbiot will present the hour-long programme from a polluted river in one part of the country, with experts, campaigners and some special guests joining him from other areas. They’ll show how the agencies charged with protecting our rivers have been progressively under-funded and under-resourced and are failing to adequately monitor water quality and enforce action against polluters. Having crowdfunded the costs of production to enable editorial independence, Rivercide is also crowdsourcing intelligence about the state of Britain’s rivers, and investigating all forms of river pollution. Armstrong said: “We’re asking people to go out and take pictures and video of their local rivers, particularly any pollution incidents they have witnessed. We also want to incorporate some citizen science to test water quality.” Monbiot and Armstrong are great believers in people power and hope to attract a large online audience. Whilst Monbiot will be challenging politicians and confronting polluters, he’ll also be showing how we can turn the situation around and help to restore Britain’s rivers to the natural wonders they ought to be.

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Nicola Cutcher is an investigative journalist.