Untreated sewage released into Hampshire's Langstone Harbour for 49 hours
Swimmers are being warned to avoid at least 50 UK beaches as water companies are pumping raw sewage into the seas with the southwest and south coast being the worst affected.
Campaign group Surfers Against Sewage have created an interactive map which shows that popular locations such as Great Yarmouth, Newquay and Bognor Regis have all been impacted just as families begin to enjoy their summer holidays.
The recent hot and dry spell in the UK has led to a series of storms and heavy downpours which has caused storm overflows to be filtered into rivers to avoid sewers flooding on to streets.
Figures from the Environment Agency show that raw sewage was pumped into rivers in England more than 400,000 times last year. A spokesperson from the company said: "Throughout the bathing season, daily pollution risk forecasts are made for a number of bathing waters where water quality may be temporarily reduced to factors, such as heavy rainfall, wind or the tide."
Nowhocking viral footage documenting sewage being pumped into the waters of Seaford, East Sussex has caused an uproar on social media with many people feeling that the government should shoulder the blame and work towards a solution.
\u201cSort of a microcosm of everything UK - the Tories pass a law to enable the release of raw sewage, people point out that it would allow the release of raw sewage, Sensible Voices respond "I HARDLY think we're going to see the release of raw sewage" and then they release raw sewage\u201d
— 22nd Century Blues (@22nd Century Blues)
\u201cSewage pollution. Terrifying bills. Low pay. Raging inequality. Soaring inflation. NHS on its knees. Social care and justice system too. Strikes. Transport hell. Price hikes. 2/3 of households forecast to be in fuel poverty by January\u2026\nThanks Tories for this total hellscape.\u201d
\u201cI'm in my 50s and for the first time in my life after reading the news I cried. Cried in despair. From a frail old man on a disability scooter being stabbed to death in broard daylight to our beautiful coastline poisoned with sewage . What have the tories turned this country into\u201d
Last year the government voted to allow the legislation which will allow for sewage to be pumped into seas and rivers. The vote was to make an amendment for water companies to have a legal duty not to allow sewage to be pumped into rivers but the Tories voted against it.
In a statement given at the time a spokesperson from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: "The amount of sewage discharge by water companies into our rivers is unacceptable. We have made it clear to water companies that they must significantly reduce sewage discharges from storm overflows as a priority. To this end we have added a range of new legally-binding obligations directly on water companies in the Environment Bill, as well as over £3 billion of water company investment to tackle pollution in rivers, and we expect to see results.
“The Storm Overflows Taskforce – set up last year – has already taken steps to improve monitoring and transparency, as well as uniting the industry on a long-term goal to eliminate harm from storm overflows. The Government recognises the importance of protecting the nation’s natural environment and we are investing accordingly.”
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