A report compiled by the Environment Agency has revealed that despite improvements in quality over the past 20 years, three quarters of the rivers in the UK are not up to new EU water quality standards. The report assesses the biological and chemical quality of the rivers and has surveyed 6000 rivers across England and Wales, identifying only five as ‘pristine’.
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After permitting farmers to grow Monsanto’s GM maize variety MON 810 since 2005, Ilse Aigner, Germany’s Agricultural Minister has announced the country’s decision to ban further growth of the genetically engineered crop. This decision, Aigner added, is based on science, not politics, as they have concerns that the variety could be a threat to the environment.
Germany will join Austria, who banned the import of another GM variety produced by Monsanto in July 2008, MON 863, after reports of rats that had eaten the maize suffering damage to internal organs; Hungary, France and Greece, in refusing to grow the variety, which the biotech industry comments is as safe as traditional maize varieties.