South Devon Ocean Rebellion activists focussed on poor water quality on Saturday. In fact water quality so poor you will be swimming in a toxic soup.
The action raised awareness of the shocking amount of sewage and “farm runoff” that flows into Torbay from local rivers. Find out about the shocking state of our rivers by watching RIVERCIDE, a documentary presented by George Monbiot with music by Charlotte Church
They were joined by the “Ocean Blues”, the “XR Samba Band” and “XR Song Carriers”. Gary Joliffe of “Till the coast is Clear” furnished the backdrop of recently collected rubbish that was festooned across Paignton Pier along with banners and flags.
Colin Moore, spokesperson for Ocean Rebellion, said:
“With increased rainfall due to global heating, water treatment systems and other safeguards are easily overwhelmed. Water companies profits have not been sufficiently re-invested in upgrading infrastructure resulting in a serious decline of water quality”.
“The “Rivercide” documentary exposes how increased rainfall results in a toxic combination of “runoffs” which pour down our rivers. These are a mixture of chemical pollutants from various sources, artificial fertilisers, animal husbandry runoffs of cow, chicken and pig waste, and worst of all, storm tank discharges of human sewage from water companies. A court heard just in the last few days that Southern Water dumped huge amounts of sewage over years because it was “cheaper than treating the sewage”. They were fined £90 million. All this effluent is turning rivers into deoxygenated sewers, killing wildlife and lessening biodiversity. And what flows down rivers enters our seas”!
Fellow rebel, Mike Puleston added:
”South West Water are responsible for the very poor quality water here at Paignton Pier today as stated by the SAS app. Within the past week, sewage has been discharged near beaches in Torbay and the surrounding area according to the Environmental Agency. This poses potential risks to swimmers and surfers, as alerted by Surfers against Sewage.
Academic studies have shown that swimming in the sea substantially increases the chance of developing stomach bugs, ear aches and other illnesses. The University of Exeter Medical School and Centre for Ecology and Hydrology carried out a study which concluded that compared to non-sea swimmers, the likelihood of developing an earache increases by 77% and for a gastrointestinal illness by 29%”.
Mother of grown children, surfer and rebel Lu Overy said:
“I love our rivers and seas. A big part of why I live in South Devon is being close to the river Dart and to the coast. I swim in the river and sea, and surf when I can. I've been a bodyboard surfer since I was 5 and surfing brings some of the purest joy to me. River swimming is very different - a feeling of being immersed in the landscape. But such beautiful experiences are under threat... I've been made ill by contaminated water more than once. Now I know I must beware storm conditions, and avoid the water for fear of being made sick by sewage. Our natural world is under so much pressure...what will our children and grand-children be able to enjoy and appreciate? Let's do what we can to protect what we love. Let's tell our MPs how important this is to us. Our government must invest more in the agencies who can protect our precious rivers and seas on our behalf. Let's make sure they know it matters to us”.
It was left to six year old Tabatha to mention the effect of all this effluent on marine life. She joined in the action after following the “Ocean Blues” through town. When people were invited to take the microphone she had no hesitation in telling the assembled crowd:
“The seas are not for us; they’re for the animals and we don’t own them, the animals do!”
Ocean Rebellion demands the UK's laissez faire attitude towards water ends now. We demand that shareholder profits and short term economic gains are made a thing of the past. The UK must have policies that make the health of the sea and future generations a priority. If the Sea Dies We Die.