London (UPI) Feb 5, 2009
.Runoff from agriculture, roads and housing has badly polluted 80 percent of British ponds, stripping them of much of their plant and animal life, a study says.
The study, by two organizations, Pond Conservation and the Center for Ecology and Hydrology, is the first attempt to document the condition of all the ponds in an entire country, The Daily Telegraph reports.
A pond is defined as a body of standing water less than 25 acres in area that is full for at least four months of the year. There are believed to be about 500,000 in England, Scotland and Wales.
Most of the ponds surveyed contained about one-third of the species of plants that would have been expected without pollution, The Guardian reported. Jeremy Biggs of Pond Conservation said the numbers of animals was also low.
"It is shocking that ponds are in such a terrible state," Biggs said. "Practically unnoticed, wildlife-rich, clean and unpolluted ponds have become a rarity in the countryside."
British ponds are believed to contain a greater diversity of life and more threatened species than rivers and lakes combined.
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