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LifeSaver: British Waterways at Crisis Point

British Waterways at Crisis Point

British Waterways at Crisis Point

Posted 1 year ago

There is a prevailing attitude among outdoor enthusiasts in the UK and North America that viruses are not something to worry about in domestic rivers and lakes. While this may be generally true, there are regularly cases of hikers or campers falling very ill after wild swimming in (or consuming) water contaminated by viruses or other microbiological contaminants. This is a growing problem in the UK, particularly as unprecedented levels of sewage is being discharged into rivers across the UK on a daily basis by water companies. This situation is rightfully beginning to gain attention, to the point that the BBC News have covered the story today – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-suffolk-63681034

It is important that outdoor enthusiasts are aware of the hidden pollutants present in waterways. Consider taking steps to research areas where you plan on wild swimming. Look for helpful tools like this one from the UK’s River’s Trust , who have created an eye-opening map, showing where sewage is discharged into rivers. The map reveals the shocking prevalence of sewage in UK rivers and waterways.

Usually the discharge of sewage into UK rivers is only permitted when there is too much rainfall. However, between 2016 and 2021 water companies discharged sewage into our waterways and sea for a total of 9,427,355 hours, the equivalent of 1,076 years, which is an increase of 2,553% over the previous five years. This comes at a time when hundreds of Britain’s environmental laws covering water quality and sewage pollution are vulnerable following Brexit.

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