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Women from the Women's Institute march to campaign to clear up rivers holding a banner

Shoot for ‘WI Life’ feature on their Clean Rivers Campaign

A bit of a change from my usual families or small businesses, last month I was invited along by the Women’s Institute’s national magazine ‘WI Life’ to photograph members of a local WI group campaigning to clear up the River Mersey.

Women from the Women's Institute march to campaign to clear up rivers holding up hand made signs

 

Women from the Women's Institute march to campaign to clear up rivers holding a hand made clean up rivers now banner

As part of the WI’s ‘Clean River’s Campaign’ to address the crisis in rivers throughout the UK, this group from Urmston planned to march to a footbridge over the river where they would then yarn bomb the bridge. This meant covering it with tiny hand crafted poo bunting, knitted fish, a huge crocheted poo, beautiful hand sewn textile banners and signs sharing shocking statistics about the amount of raw sewage being regularly pumped into the river.

Women from the Women's Institute march to campaign to clear up rivers holding up banners

Women from the Women's Institute march to campaign to clear up rivers woman adds sign to bridge over River Mersey

Hand made felt sad poo emoji being held as part of Women from the Women's Institute march to campaign to clear up rivers

I loved meeting all the people involved in the campaign and getting to capture all the different creative art works they had made to raise awareness of the campaign. I was so shocked to learn about the level of pollution in the river (including some pretty awful stories about what had been left in neighbouring fields when the river burst its banks in a storm a few years back).

Women from the Women's Institute march to campaign to clear up rivers holding a banner saying clean water

 

Banners on bridge over Rover Mersey as part of Women from the Women's Institute march to campaign to clear up rivers

It’s a problem all over the UK, with only 14 percent of rivers classified as having a “good” ecological status. Sewage spill events have become shockingly frequent. The Rivers Trust offers an interactive map that displays where the sewerage network discharges treated sewage and overflows of untreated sewage and storm water into rivers in England & Wales:

theriverstrust.org/key-issues/sewage-in-rivers

Women from the Women's Institute march to campaign to clear up rivers holding banners on bridge over River Mersey

Women from the Women's Institute march to campaign to clear up rivers holding a banner saving clean rivers now

If hearing all this about the state of our rivers you want to know how you can try to help clear up our rivers, Rivers Trust have got loads of ideas how you can take action from writing to your MP to volunteering out on the rivers:

theriverstrust.org/take-action

Sticker of sad poo emoji as part of Women's Institute march to campaign to clear up rivers

Thanks again to the members of Urmston’s Social Lite’s WI group for letting me tag along to capture their awareness raising protest.

Sonya

x


The pictures we’ve had from Sonya mean the world, and are framed in our house, grandparents and aunts and uncles! They are so so special.

- Gwen O