The rivers Taff was once on of the most polluted rivers in Britain s it ran black with coal dust and were so polluted that no life could survive – even as recently as the 1980s.
But it was not only Coa that pouted the river, accidental (and sometimes deliberate) spillages from companies on the Treforest Industrial Estate for example between Upper Boat and Nantgarw also contributed to the chocking of life on the river.
I once worked for a company that accidentally spilled over 25,000 ts of detergent into the Taff in one day which was only noticed when people in the Riverside area of Cardiff noticed the pleasant smell. Though it was not so pleasant for any river life.
And then came Thatcher and the mines closed and many of the manufacturing Industries went as well not all who contributed to the heavy pollution.
It was not only our rivers The area of Abercwmboi in the Cynon Valley is still suffering from the pollution and anybody taking the road to Aberdare could not help noticing the blacken dead trees caused by the recycling plant which we were told for years was safe. I remember one Plaid activist in the late 70's predicting that the plant true toxic nature will only come to life when it became unprofitable and he was proven right.
We can't help being pleased has seen fantastic results, with the Taff now supporting many species of wildlife, including salmon, otters, sea trout and eels.
But it is sad that this was not so much because of the work of the Environment Agency whose spin it seems is to be taken with a pinch of salt but because of the demise of the heavy industries that provided thousands of jobs in the South Wales Valleys and have never been replaced not even by non-polluting light industry.
So there you have it our rivers are cleaner because of the decimation by Margaret Thatcher's Government and not because of any Green planing.
We paid a heavy price for the jobs that industrialisation brought to South Wales Valleys and then paid a heavy price in the greening of the Valleys as these industries were closed.
We can't and shouldn't go back to the days when you couldn't see the bottom of the river bed of the Taff because of the coal dust and other pollutants and if we are to rebuild our manufacturing industry again then environmental factors must be brought into account.
Green polices make sense in the long run because the sort of companies that exploit the environment are often short time and discourage cleaner industries from coming to the area.
If we are to have a long term future of a clean and healthy environment then we must remember what the Taff was like just 30 years ago but we must also realise that we also need work for our people. The Green- Work planning that can see both the environment protected and work created must be a priority of the Welsh Assembly.