If you live near a river or the sea in the UK you’ll no doubt have heard about - and even smelt - the raw sewage being pumped into our waters – but what on earth is it doing there?
1. Why this is happening
2. The impact it’s having
3. And what you can do about it
A key issue is that there’s not enough capacity in the sewage system, so when it rains the system starts to overflow and instead of sewage getting cleaned up and treated, it gets put directly into rivers and the sea.
Water companies say sewage overflow is necessary to protect the system and they’re investing in improvements.
But... campaigners argue that even when the system isn’t at capacity - and sometimes when there's not even been any rain - water companies are pouring sewage into our waters because it’s cheaper than treating it.
They point to the fact that between 2016-2021 sewage discharge increased by 2500%, as well as examples of sewage discharge when there's been no rain.
On top of that, and despite the desperate need to fix the system, water companies continue to pay out billions of pounds in dividends and executive salaries. In fact...
Sewage in our water is hugely damaging to wildlife and humans alike. It can poison fish, other wildlife and cause toxic algae blooms. As for humans, it can give you e-coli and other nasties, with several reports of people being hospitalised.
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