Earlier this year, it was announced that six of the UK’s most polluted rivers are in Wales - with the Rivers Usk and Wye high on the list after failing to meet phosphate targets in 2022.

In response, this year, Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons) National Park Authority launched a mission to change the fate of the Usk and Wye and share best practice to support the wellbeing of other rivers across Wales, and beyond.

Through working groups like the Usk Catchment Partnership, the National Park Authority is bringing a range of stakeholders - including farmers, Dŵr Cymru (Welsh Water) and Natural Resources Wales - in a concerted effort to find solutions to the river health crisis.

But with so many contributing factors at play, including the effect of household and business waste, the National Park Authority is also calling on the public to help enact a ripple of change by pledging their allegiance to the River Usk and Wye.

By signing the pledge, Bannau residents have already promised to ‘love’ their local rivers, by making a series of small changes from work or home.

Whether you live in the Bannau, elsewhere in Wales or the wider UK, the authority has listed seven things you can do to join them - and support the mission to safeguard our precious rivers for generations to come:

• Don’t put kitchen waste down the drain.

Food waste swirls its way down sink drains all the time, causing blockages and leaks galore.

If you have a small amount of fat, cooking oil or fatty food leftovers to discard, you can recycle them in your food waste caddy.

• Choose ecofriendly products.

Whether it’s from washing up liquid, dishwasher tablets, washing machine detergents or cleaning sprays, thousands of household chemicals are washed into the rivers every week.

From Smol to Method and SESI, there are plenty of brands that offer products without harmful fragrances, preservatives, and synthetic dyes

• Clean your home or business responsibly.

Basic home supplies like soda, lemon juice, vinegar or soft soap are all brilliant alternatives to standard cleaning products.

Other tips include using reusable cloths instead of disposable wipes; and toothbrushes for scrubbing around taps or other hard-to-reach places.

• Think before you flush.

In short, if it’s not one of the three P’s (pee, poo, or paper) then it shouldn’t go down the toilet.

• Empty your septic tank regularly.

If a septic tank is not cleaned regularly enough, dangerous toxins can build up, eventually causing waste blocks and overflow, and the pollution that seeps into the soil can end up in local rivers.

• Be a considerate car-washer.

Many surface water drains flow straight into our streams and rivers, making a soapy Sunday morning car wash potentially more harmful than wholesome!

If possible, take your vehicle off the road or your concrete/asphalt driveway completely and wash it on grass or gravel instead. This will filter out contaminants from the water and stop them from entering our rivers. Alternatively, choose an eco-friendly car wash.

• Make regular use of the rivers.

Regular visits will arm you with the knowledge to spot when things aren’t right.

For example if the water looks milky or oily, or if you spot a fly-tipping incident.

These occurrences should be reported directly to Natural Resources Wales. please see more information on how to do this visit: https://naturalresources.wales/about-us/contact-us/report-an-incident/?lang=en