The latest film night in the Sustainable Hackney Films for Action series focused on river pollution and what individuals can do to make a difference. There is a lot we can actively do, beyond simply campaigning.


The well-attended event at St Paul’s West Hackney comprised two films and a panel of experts. The films were Severn by ENDS Report and Rivercide by Spanner Films and George Monbiot. They both highlighted issues in particular rivers, the Severn and the Wye, that are common throughout England and Wales: pollution is not just sewage discharges, it’s more than that and we need to understand and address all the issues. Run-off from agriculture is the biggest contributor to pollution nationally, and urban and transport run-off play a large part.


The panellists brought focus to our area, with two of them involved in citizen science on the River Lea as part of their wider work, and to policy and strategy at UK Government level.


Sosha Adie is a reporter for ENDS Report and brought valuable context to the issue, with insight into recent events.


Sam Facey from ZSL has been running Outfall Safaris, in which volunteers walk the Lea and its tributaries to locate outfalls and assess levels of pollution from them, and runs biodiversity monitoring projects on the rivers.

Izzy Bishop from UCL East is involved in water quality monitoring projects in the area, identifying what is in the water and how it’s changing, and again works with local citizen scientists, bringing together the enthusiasm of those who love our river and the disciplines of academia.


They both talked about how, by working together, we can understand what’s needed for our river and support conservation work to make it happen.


If anyone would like to explore becoming more involved, Sam and Izzy would love to hear from you, or write to so we can share contact details and information about local river conservation volunteering.

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