Swimmers’ fury as sewage and pollution is dumped in sea along picturesque coastlines

Swimmers’ fury as sewage and pollution is dumped in sea along picturesque coastlines

Furious sea swimmers have slammed the release of s ewage and pollution into picturesque coastlines as a “crisis”.

Last month a swathe of beaches were closed to bathers as pollution and sewage was pumped into waters around Britain.

These included a third of Kent beaches which were monitored for water quality and displayed warnings for pollution, according to environmental charity Surfers Against Sewage.

Open water swimmer Kirsty Hogben told Kent Live it is a “crisis”.

She said: “It is a really big public health crisis and no one seems to care.

“The popularity of sea swimming has really increased in the last few years and it is having such a positive impact on peoples lives. It feels like all that work is about to come undone.

“When we had the warnings back in August, it really affected people. My numbers were down for the following two weeks, people were cancelling, and quite rightly concerned about going in the water.

“Around August 18, I fell really ill and I am sure it is because of sewage in the water.

“After going swimming I started to have a really bad tummy, I was sweating, feeling faint and by the evening I had diarrhoea and was really unwell.”

Bridget Chapman added: “It was in the middle of the heatwave and I had already been to the beach that morning and took photos and video footage of how busy the beach was. It was only when I got back I saw the warning not to go in the water.

“All of those families were swimming in contaminated water and no one had told them. It is disgusting and irresponsible and I think people should face prosecution for it.

“These people that are sitting on huge salaries dumping sewage into the water and not warning people, it’s disgusting.”

Several sea swimmers use apps such as Southern Water’s Beachbuoy, as well as Surfers against Sewage’s Safer Seas and Rivers Service.

However some swimmers claimed they do not work.

Victoria Stirrup added: “I have found the Beachbuoy app is no longer very accurate. They have changed the reporting structures on the app and now I find that they do not verify the release for 72 hours, by which time you could have already been swimming in contaminated water.”

A spokesman for Southern Water said: “The Beachbuoy application, which provides the public with near-real time information about storm release activity for coastal bathing waters, has been improved to provide a more accurate picture of the impact of storm overflows along the south coast.

“Throughout September there will be several enhancements including improved user experience, pop ups on outfalls, easier to see outfalls on the interactive map and better feedback provision. But the big update is now live – dynamic impact mapping.”