New research showing that three quarters of fresh water pollution is coming from streams exempt from fencing requirements means that new measures are needed to stop the pollution of our waterways, the Green Party said today.
A new study, led by the principal scientist for Ag Research Invermay’s Environment Group, shows that streams currently exempt from fencing regulations contribute 73 percent of total nitrogen and 84 percent of dissolved reactive phosphorus into waterways.
“Requiring farmers to fence off larger rivers and water bodies on the plains, but failing to close off other sources of pollution is clearly not working,” said Green Party environment spokesperson Eugenie Sage.
“It's a bit like locking the front door of your house, but choosing to leave the windows or back door open. If you don’t lock all the possible points of entry, then you leave yourself vulnerable – and that’s exactly why our rivers, lakes, and aquifers are getting more polluted.
“We need stronger regulation and controls of intensive land-use, for example the grazing of large mobs of cattle on steeper country where small streams are common.
“It's also why the Green Party wants a levy on nitrate pollution, so that farmers have an incentive to stop pollution at the source.
“We have also proposed a $210 million transformational farming fund to support farmers who are wanting to move to more environmentally sustainable forms of farming.
“We want to make sure the good work farmers have done to date fencing off waterways isn’t wasted by regulators who leave the job half-done,” said Ms Sage.