While sewage and intensive farming pollution steal the media headlines, an eco-toxic cocktail of hydrocarbons, metals and plastics runs off our roads into rivers and streams when it rains. Stormwater Shepherds and CIWEM have been pulling together the evidence.

Poly aromatic hydrocarbons are nasty, toxic organic substances. They are carcinogenic; they cause mutations and deformities in aquatic organisms and they affect their ability to reproduce.

But you’ve probably never heard of them because they are the unwelcome ‘villains’ in a little-known pollution problem. These substances wash into our rivers and streams every time it rains, causing untold harm to insects and their larvae living amongst the sand and gravel.

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