Guest Post by Dave Pratten, who lives in Swanage, is a Swanage Beach Buddy and a key member of Sustainable Swanage and Planet Purbeck.
Sewage and agricultural pollution still plague our rivers and ocean. In 2019 there were over 200,000 discharges of untreated sewage into UK rivers and almost 2,000 discharges into UK coastal bathing waters during the May-September bathing season alone.
The sheer volume of sewage and run-off entering the water means the UK is ranked just 25th out of 30 EU countries for coastal water quality and only 14% of rivers meet good ecological status.
Purbeck waters are not immune. The Surfers Against Sewage Safer Sea Service reported 21 pollution alerts in the last from the Ulwell Stream in Swanage, where the Combined Sewage Overspill discharges into the stream 340m from the beach and 31 incidents from the three overflows on the main beach.
Sewage in seawater poses a significant health risk. In November 2021, Dorset Oysters recalled its products due to concerns over norovirus. Pete Miles, the company director said it was "harder and harder" to run his Poole-based business because of sewage water in the sea.
What can you do?
1. Download the Safer Seas and Rivers App and inform our MP of each reported pollution incident
2. Advise other local water users to do likewise.
3. Consider joining Surfers Against Sewage SAS.org.uk and supporting the campaign!
Here's a recent, very topical article which may highlight the extent of pollution in our waters https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-dorset-60198776