END SEWAGE POLLUTION: Petition Launches for Safer Water Quality Accross Britain

Surfing England become a key Coalition Partner supporting Surfers Against Sewage in their #EndSewagePollution petition. See details below.

  • Ocean conservation charity petitions to end sewage pollution and guarantee safer water quality across the UK
  • The current state of Britain’s water quality exposes the public to fluctuating health dangers, including viruses and infections
  • UK placed 25th out of 30 EU countries tested for coastal water quality
  • Over 55% of the public want more water quality testing and real-time information on sewage discharge and water conditions

1st June 2020: Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) is calling on the UK Government to end sewage pollution in coastal and river waters as part of a new campaign to guarantee safe-seas all year round, encouraging the British public to join the charity petition.

The new #EndSewagePollution petition – www.sas.org.uk/endsewagepollution – aims to protect the health and wellbeing of the public and help save the Ocean. Targeted at George Eustice, the Secretary of State for the environment, the charity plans to change government policy and legislation to protect UK waters, and restore rivers and the Ocean by generating over 50,000 signatures.

Despite the proven associated public health risks, sewage pollution events are purposely being ignored by government and there is inadequate investment for the necessary supporting infrastructure. Agricultural pollution and everyday sewage continues to plague the Ocean and rivers across the UK, and huge volumes of contaminated effluent and run-off enter the Ocean which leaves Britain’s water quality at the same dire level as it was in the 1990s.

The lack of support for Ocean welfare is endangering citizens, wildlife and ecosystems. The UK is currently placed 25th out of 30 EU countries for coastal water quality*, and just 14% of British rivers meet good environmental standards, SAS aim to change this ranking by ending sewage pollution with support from government.

IMG: Jack Watson

Britain’s natural spaces and great outdoors have never been more important to societies mental wellbeing, and the recent COVID-19 lockdown has changed the way Brits appreciate and value the environment. A recent study** from SAS, the national ocean conservation charity, reveals that 79% of water lovers believe they will place greater value on nature, and 70% believe their attitude towards spending time outdoors will increase after lockdown.

But it’s not just personal developments which the British public would like to change post-lockdown, nearly eight in 10 (77%) want the government to take more action to protect the sea, and 74% want businesses to do more to protect beaches.

As companies continue to legally pollute public water spaces, and big businesses use the Ocean and rivers as dumping grounds for contaminated effluent & waste, without safeguards in place, the government will continue to put the public’s health at risk from sewage-related pathogens, whilst swimming and enjoying the outdoors.

SAS believes that systems designed to protect water users and the environment are set up to fail. A wider study from SAS and Exeter University reveals that sea bathers’ are at a higher risk of experiencing symptoms of respiratory infections, skin aliments, ear conditions, and eye infections as a result of particles from sewage matter and waste coming into contact with their skin***.

Hugo Tagholm, CEO of Surfers Against Sewage says: “This is the water industry emissions scandal. A water quality testing programme that overlooks the worst sewage pollution events and hides the true state of rivers and the Ocean. It’s unacceptable to treat these blue spaces that are increasingly important to the health and wellbeing of society in this way.”

“The public demands more water quality information and action to protect them at the beach. With the governments water quality testing programme on hold this summer, our campaigns have never been more important to help keep swimmers safe. That’s why we track and monitor hundreds of sewage spills annually, and share real-time water quality information for the whole of the UK through our Safer Seas Service app. But without bigger government support, changes cannot be put in place to constantly protect the public and the environment from the dangers of sewage.”

“We’re calling on the public to support our campaign to #EndSewagePollution – the government must act to stop our rivers and ocean from being the dumping ground for big industry, and when we deliver this to government later this year, we hope for a clear blue future for our waters.”

Surfers Against Sewage is calling for legislation to better recognise the dangers of sewage pollution and protect UK beaches and riverbanks.


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