The campaign is part of the ‘My World My Home’ annual environmental leadership programme for young people, which is supported by Friends of the Earth.
The students have been working with local environmentalists to learn more about the issue and have published an online petition calling for Derbyshire County Council and the Environment Agency to clean and maintain the river to a standard that will protect biodiversity and restores its former beauty.
One of the students, Sam Birch, who is studying Land and Wildlife Management, said: “We have all seen the among of litter that is being strewn around footpaths and hedges but the situation is even worse around rivers which are ten times more polluted that we would expect them to be.”
Animal Care student Bella Pilia added: “We want to raise awareness of the issue and to encourage the authorities responsible for the local environment to take action so we are encouraging as many people as possible to sign the petition.”
And Agriculture student Ed Jones concluded: “One of the major areas of concern is agricultural waste affecting the water quality in the river and this is an issue that we would like to see addressed.”