This week, scientists from the University of Manchester reported research showing that part of the River Tame in Greater Manchester had the greatest recorded level of microplastics pollution anywhere in the world, almost twice the highest previous record level, found on a beach in South Korea in 2015.


 The research discovered over ½ million pieces of microscopic plastic per square metre of riverbed. They had sampled 40 sites from rural and urban locations across the catchment area for the River Mersey, in the north-west of England. Initially only one of the locations, on the upper reaches of the River Goyt was free from microplastics, but a later sample also showed this site to be contaminated. Their research also showed that about 70% of the microplastics pollution at the sites they sampled was washed away by flooding on the rivers, but they commented that this would have washed the microplastic particles into the oceans


Although the scale of microplastics pollution is not fully known, evidence from other studies shows that microplastics have entered food chains. Microplastics are thought to enter river systems from many sources, including industrial processes, plastic litter that breaks down in the environment, and from clothing fibres and toiletries in waste water sources.


The Old Testament, in the Bible, has numerous examples of Old Testament prophets accepting responsibility for things that their society was doing wrong. The prophets are recorded repenting of these things on behalf of themselves and their people, and trying to persuade their society to change their behaviour. Numerous voices in our society are telling us that plastics are almost everywhere in our daily lives, from toiletries to teabags, from clothing to coffee cups, and are beginning to call for us to change our behaviour to reduce our plastics use. The charity Friends of the Earth is running a campaign to encourage people to commit to keeping a ‘Plastic Free Friday’ each week. Some churches are encouraging people to try to work towards a ‘Plastic Free Lent.’ One the designer is finding imaginative ways to recycle chewing-gum, which is usually made from a plastic-like material made from petroleum. Maybe these people are the equivalent of the Old Testament prophets in our society today?


  • Have you ever felt guilty about something that ‘was not your fault’?

  • How do you tend to respond when someone tells you that you are doing something wrong, or tells you that you should change something you are doing?

  • Is this how you want to respond?


Prayer for the week - 15th March 2018


Earlier this week a 27 year old woman, Opelo Kgari, was given a last-minute, temporary reprieve from deportation, after MPs intervened on her behalf. Opelo was first brought to the UK from Botswana as a child, 14 years ago.


This week, the UK has experienced more widespread snow and freezing conditions than for several years. As always, this has prompted a wide range of different responses. Has the bad weather helped you learn anything about yourself?