Last week, MPs in the UK voted to continue to dump raw sewage in the ocean. Basically, a proposal was put forward to place legal restrictions on companies discharging into our sea was defeated by 265 MPs' votes to 202.
And given water companies discharged raw sewage more than 400,000 times last year, there has to be a point where this stops. Say it with us; the cleanliness of our oceans should never be a political decision. It's a decision that will surely gate people from getting in the ocean – and here at MSW, we believe the ocean is for everyone.
In a press release issued by Surfers Against Sewage, the organisation is calling for more to be done. “The government will argue that they have already made significant changes to the Environment Bill to tackle sewage pollution, and that’s partly true. This includes new sewage discharge reporting and monitoring duties and, more importantly, the government has to make a plan to tackle sewage pollution. Whilst this is good, what we really, really needed from this Bill was some clear and tangible action to End Sewage Pollution – we simply don’t have this yet. We must demand that water companies are forced to act.”
Hugo Tagholm, Surfers Against Sewage CEO said: “The sewage scandal is now in full public view and it’s clear that urgent action is required. The figures are stark – millions of hours of sewage pumped into our rivers and ocean annually, meaning that the UK sits at the bottom of the European Bathing Water league table and only 14% of our rivers meet a good environmental standard. This is a national environmental disgrace.
“All this at a time when people are flocking to these blue spaces for health and wellbeing, when local economies need protected and clean environments to thrive, and when we are in the midst of a nature crisis. On the eve of COP26, we must surely be more ambitious, and invest in the protecting and restoring the liquid life-blood of the country, our rivers and ocean?
“Members of Parliament now have an opportunity to deliver progressive legal obligations for the industry to take the action required to radically reduce sewage pollution. This will be much more effective than simply obliging them to share sewage data and plans; if water company action is voluntary it won’t work, as the current woeful statistics show.”
However, all's not lost as a new amendment is being today, with a new vote to put pressure on MPs to do more to protect the ocean.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for the government to make the Environment Bill a truly landmark moment to End Sewage Pollution and drive industry to invest more of their huge profits in protecting the environment,” Hugo added. “The continued destruction of our rivers and coastline is not an option. We urge MPs to back the common sense amendment to make water companies legally responsible for ending the current rising tide of sewage pollution.”
To make yourself heard, you can contact your local MP by going HERE.