Ocean and freshwater restoration
Water is vital for our socio-economic development, food and energy provisioning, recreation, biodiversity and to maintain ecosystems and their services supporting our well-being.
You can find out more about our restoration projects via the list below.
A team of researchers carried out ground-breaking work on arsenic exposure in Cambodia, India and the UK, the latter in partnership with Public Health England and other agencies. Arsenic-contaminated groundwater used for drinking and crop irrigation poses a serious health risk, and this research established the extent of arsenic exposure and how arsenic enters well water.
It also confirmed that rice consumption can be a major exposure route for arsenic, contributing to an acknowledgement of rice as an arsenic exposure route by the European Food Safety Authority, underpinning changes in European Union and UK legislation.
Determining oceanic fish survival
More than 400 ‘dead zones’ exist in oceans and seas worldwide. These are areas where aquatic life is limited or completely absent, largely because there isn’t enough oxygen to support it. In recent years, these zones have been increasing, often due to human input of nutrients into the water, which encourages plant growth.
Our biologists are examining fish in harsh environments in order to understand why fish stocks dwindle in polluted marine environments with low oxygen levels.
Engaging urban waterways
Rivers are common – but often neglected – resources in cities. Decades of development and pollution have degraded and damaged these vital ecosystems.
Human and physical geographers are looking at the potential social benefits of urban waterway restoration, focusing in particular on brook daylighting in Greater Manchester, and how this can create opportunities for community engagement in, and through the restoration process.
Microplastics in UK rivers
In the first study of its kind, our geographers found that UK rivers are heavily contaminated with microplastics and that microplastics from urban river channels are a major contributor to the pollution problem in oceans. Microplastics enter river systems from a variety of industrial and domestic sources. These particles pollute the environment and pose a threat to ecosystems.
Our researchers surveyed river sediments from 40 sites across Greater Manchester and found that the River Tame at Denton had the highest levels of microplastics recorded anywhere in the world. This research is leading to calls for much tighter regulations on waste flowing into urban waterways.