News Pronto


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Queen Elizabeth II owns all the swans in Britain. More accurately, she owns all unclaimed mute swans in the English and Welsh open waters, according to a rule dating back from the medieval times. The legislation is still enforced nowadays, and consequently, every year there is an annual census of all the swans in the River Thames. The counting tradition called swan upping takes place every third week of July. As the upping date approaches in the UK, the uppers are becoming more and more worried about the way the modern lifestyle and habits have affected the swan population. In the 70s, the UK banned lead hooks for fishing, limiting the cases of lead poisoning in the birds. Unfortunately, today, plastic wastes and pollutants are an alarming danger to the Queen’s swans.

Only 40% of EU surface waters are clean

According to the European Environmental Agency (EEA), only 40% of the surface waters are in a good ecological state, which goes against the EU laws and biodiversity protocols. England scores one of the worst results in the survey. The pollution from agriculture, industry and household wastes combined is affecting the water bodies. The situation, however, is not typical of the EU. In the US, waters are contaminated by the presence of pesticides. In fact, 100% of water bodies reviewed in the US show the presence of pesticides.

It’s time for an official decision

It’s therefore highly time for global, national and regional institutions to regulate the use of neonicotinoid pesticides – the most widely used type of insecticides in the world. Neonicotinoids are highly efficient at what they do, killing insects. They have, however, become a threat for the ecosystem. The bee population is shrinking at a global level as a result. Additionally, as this kind of pesticide is water soluble, it’s easy to see how it puts fish, swans and other aquatic populations at high risk. But is the solution to moderate the use of pesticides or to find a safer alternative, for both nature and the agriculture sector?

Caring starts with knowing and testing

At an individual level, households can choose to buy products from suppliers who reduce their use of pesticides and other chemicals, but the ball is truly with enterprises and legal institutions. Indeed, industries and farms need to unite fronts and approach the situation with an open mind. Starting with consulting for environmental issues through expert laboratories can highlight the threats their professional activities represent for the ecosystems. Defining green KPIs as a part of their growth strategies is the first step to tackle and reduce global water pollution.  

Eco-education is weak

It should be the responsibility of national and regional organizations to educate private households about the risks they might represent for the water bodies. It’s not uncommon to walk past waterways in England that are crowded with floating plastic items, which could be swallowed by swans. Educating the audience can help to limit wastes in the water. Additionally, in hot temperature, it’s crucial to let households know that water wastes also threatens the existence of swans and other creatures in rivers and lakes.

These steps could reverse the escalating pollution spread in water bodies, and ultimately, keep the swan uppers reassured.