WATER quality campaigners took to the streets of Usk this weekend to highlight the plight of the river which bears the same name.
Led by well-known campaigner Angela Jones, who branded herself “just that woman who always causes trouble”, the group made their way through the town and along the river Usk, brandishing placards and chanting slogans.
Ms Jones, who has previously worked to improve water quality in the Wye, explained that the Usk faced a similar fate.
“This isn’t about me,” she said.
“This is your river, our river.”
She explained that the Usk currently had a phosphate pollution level of 88 per cent – higher than the oft-discussed pollution levels in the Wye.
“We are losing species, they are dying,” she said.
“We are not going to accept it. What we need to do is work as a community.”
The group marched through Usk, down to the river and along to one of the outlets where sewage is reported to have been pumped into the river.
Along the way, protestors of all ages chanted slogans such as “species not faeces”, “save our river,” and condemned what they saw as a lack of action from Welsh Water, NRW and other environmental organisations.
READ MORE: Call to tackle phosphorus impact on food and water security
“You can see the green in the river. It’s filthy dirty,” Ms Jones said.
“We want our children to be able to swim in the river. It is not acceptable.”
Mayor of Usk, Meirion Howells, read out a poem by Pam Ayers called The Sh*t Creek River, which had been specially written for the cause.
“The river has been in decline for many years,” he said.
“It has the worst levels of phosphates in all of Wales.
“We’re now witnessing the decline in previously abundant levels of salmon and other wildlife.
“We need to give our river a voice.”
There were also short talks from local fishermen and the Usk branch of the Women’s Institute, who all pledged their support for the cause.
A petition to the Welsh government to highlight the issue is now also in the works.