Protests banners have been dropped over more than 20 bridges across the River Wye region, demanding that emergency action takes place to save the river.

Over the weekend, citizen scientists dropped that message from 24 bridges along the Wye. The message was seen from Llanstephan, upstream of Hay, down to Chepstow, as well as along the Lugg. Banner drops included bridges in both Glasbury and Hay-on-Wye.

The message being spread by the citizen scientists is that the Wye is being killed in front of our eyes, and emergency action is needed to save it.

SaveTheWye, a network that unites the many organisations, charities and individuals who care for the river, is also coordinating WyeJuly to focus attention on the unfolding ecological disaster.

This weekend, July 8-11, a series of events will bring together communities the length of the Wye and on the Lugg, to demonstrate their care for rivers, and to learn about the crisis from the volunteer groups that have taken on the monitoring of water quality. Events are scheduled to take place in Leominster, Hereford, Hay-on-Wye and Monmouth.

The event in Hay will take place this Sunday (July 10). The day will include an exhibition of portraits of a dozen citizen scientists in the newly-refurbished Hay Castle, taken by local photographer and filmmaker Eamon Bourke. The portraits will be accompanied by their stories - how and why they got involved in the citizen scientist effort, and what the river means to them.

Wye environmental banner at Hay
The banner demanding emergency action to save the Wye at Hay bridge (Eamon Bourke)

They are just 12 out of the 120 citizen scientists who are part of Friends of the Upper Wye, based in Hay. Altogether, there are now 900 trained citizen scientists collecting data from 320 sites the length of the Wye and along its tributaries, monitoring river pollution.

Everyone is encouraged to come along and get informed. There will be opportunities to talk to citizen scientists who are monitoring the pollution in the rivers, and find out how you can join the people power movement fighting to save them. For more information on all the events visit:

Rachel Bomford, of Friends of the Lower Wye which is organising an event in Monmouth, said: “As George Monbiot said recently: The Wye isn’t dying – it is being killed. Killed by a fatal combination of run-off from hundreds of industrial poultry units (IPUs), the widespread loss of soil into the rivers because of changes in agriculture and the persistent disregard of the regulations by water companies who continue to discharge raw sewage into the rivers.

“We are demanding that the governments in Westminster and Cardiff take immediate, meaningful action to prevent further degradation of The Wye and its tributaries.”

In July 2021, a month-long pilgrimage the length of the Wye highlighted the emergency that the river was facing. It resulted in major news coverage and bringing politicians and others to the table to start talking about how to tackle the impending disaster. However, since then progress has been slow and the health of the Wye and its tributaries has declined to such a degree that, in May, Simon Evans, Chief Executive of the Wye and Usk Foundation, stated that he believes there are only two years before the River Wye passes a point of no return and the whole web of life in the river collapses.

SOS at Hay, Wye environmental action citizen scientists
Citizen scientists involved in data gathering forming an ‘SOS’ at The Warren in Hay on June 12 (.)

Kate Bull, open water swimmer and co-founder of SaveTheWye, explained how people can help their river.

She said: “SaveTheWye is highlighting three easy things that anyone can do. Firstly - love your river! Tell everyone you know about how important the river is to you - spread the word about the ecological emergency it is facing and post your own photos of it using our hashtags.

“Secondly, contact your MP now to demand that no more planning permissions are granted for any new or extended Industrial Poultry Units, or any other industrial-scale livestock units, across the whole Wye catchment.

“Thirdly, become an earth protector, and support the petition to make ecocide an international crime at”

For the latest event details and all the hashtags to add to your social media posts go to