We were thrilled to have a team from the BBC visit Emsworth a couple of weeks ago to film a short report on our citizen science sampling programme and pollution issues in our local harbours.
It went out on BBC Breakfast this morning, but you can catch up here or by watching the embedded video below if you missed it. It’s fantastic to have kicked off the first phase of testing and we look forward to seeing the results in the coming weeks. This is a project that has come about through local frustration at the lack of progress in limiting pollution in our harbours and waterways. Some of the issues highlighted in the report about unpermitted discharges at Lavant have been going on for years and are known about by the EA and Southern Water. Our initial results at Lavant show the levels of Streptococci are way in excess of the EA’s ‘poor’ rating.
We’d like to thank all the volunteers that have taken the samples for our first phase of testing and to Professor Alex Ford for featuring in the report. Thanks also to Emsworth Sailing Club for hosting the BBC team for the afternoon, and the young people spoke so eloquently to reporter Zoe Conway about why clean harbour water is important for them.
The first phase of our testing programme has started, and we were pleased to feature in a BBC South news report last week covering the first sample collection by Professor Alex Ford, ready for analysis. We anticipate that the results of this preliminary study will be available to the public in the Spring, and are looking forward to finding out and sharing what is really in our local harbour’s water.
Last week, BBC News South ran a series of features on ‘Polluted Water’, focussing on sewage releases into Langstone Harbour. It is fantastic to get this coverage, great work by the BBC and reporter James Ingham in helping viewers to understand this complex issue. Well done to young Emsworth sailor Ruthie Gawley for a fantastic interview about how sewage pollution in our local harbours affects her use of the water.
The government calls it unacceptable, water companies say it’s concerning – but for now, it continues at alarming rates – untreated sewage being pumped into rivers and the sea. Last year in England, sewage was legally released on 400,000 separate occasions. In 2021, Southern Water’s own figures show 102 continuous days of untreated storm-water effluent discharge into Langstone and Chichester harbours alone. The discharges are permitted to stop sewers overflowing after heavy rain, but campaigners say they happen too often. BBC South Today has been looking at what can be done to reduce the practice. In this series of reports, James Ingham has been to meet people in Hampshire to hear how their lives are affected and what Southern Water plans to do.
A recent online BBC News report has highlighted the incidence of sickness after sea and river swimming in areas polluted by sewage discharges. The sea is naturally full of different types of bacteria, but also bacteria and chemicals from anthropogenic sources that should not be there. Read the full article here
James Ebdon, a professor of environmental microbiology at the University of Brighton, says the presence of “faecal indicator” bacteria – E. coil and enterococci – shows that there is an “increased likelihood that pathogens are also likely to be present”.
When it comes to answering what was making people sick, he said he “can’t see many other causes” other than contamination with human waste.
He believes illness linked to contaminated water has been “hugely under-reported”.
A new report released last week by Cornwall-based campaign group Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) has revealed the extent of the sewage pollution crisis in the UK’s seas and rivers.
The annual water quality report found that water companies increased the discharge of harmful amounts of sewage into our seas and rivers in the period from 1st October to 30th September, with devastating consequences for the environment.
The report details the number of sewer overflow discharge notifications using data accessed from water companies via SAS’ Safer Seas & Rivers Service. The report notes an increase in the instances of discharge notifications issued at times many would consider to be normal rainfall events.
On the 13th of November, local Portsmouth MP Stephen Morgan hosted a public meeting to highlight and discuss the issues surrounding sewage pollution in our local harbours. Panellists included Professor Alex Ford (Portsmouth University), Louise MacCallum (Langstone Harbour Board) and Bianca Carr (Final Straw Foundation).
Footage taken during the week starting the 18th October 2021 shows the CSO discharges from Budds Farm into Langstone Harbour. The harbour is part of Chichester and Langstone Harbours Ramsar site, Special Protection Area and Nature Conservation Review site, Grade I. Parts of it are in Solent Maritime and Solent and Isle of Wight Lagoons Special Areas of Conservation.*
The harbour is not only an important area for wildlife, but is well-used for recreational water sports like windsurfing, paddle-boarding, sailing and swimming. The video below was filmed shortly after heavy rain, however the discharges continued for many hours after this stopped.
This website has been set up as a source of information on the Clean Harbours Partnership. We will update this site with blog posts containing news and relevant information. Please check back to find out all the latest!