Earlier today, activists from Extinction Rebellion Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole (XR BCP) held a protest against the illegal dumping of sewage into Dorset’s waterways by Wessex Water at their Ringwood water recycling centre.

In the week that a BBC report revealed that in 2022 Wessex Water was responsible for 215 dry spills into our waterways for 1,527 hours, the group took advantage of a public tour of the site to make their feelings clear. They held a banner with the message WESSEX WATER STOP POLLUTING OUR RIVERS & SEAS, while singing:

Wessex Water, Wessex Water

Where’s our poo, where’s our poo?

Flush it in our river, flush it in our river

Shame on you, shame on you!

One of the protestors, Daniel Glennon – a customer service trainer from Bournemouth – said, “The BBC this week revealed the extent of Wessex Water’s sewage releases in 2022 and it is heartbreaking and scandalous. We should remember that England’s sewage companies are only legally permitted to release untreated sewage into our rivers and seas during storms or periods of heavy rain. These figures mean that Wessex Water broke the law hundreds of times last year.”

Adam Osman, a catering assistant from Poole, added, “We joined the tour of the treatment facilities before our protest. It was clear that the staff here cares about what they are doing and that they work hard. It was also clear that the facilities are very out-dated and desperately in need of investment. Wessex Water’s infrastructure has simply not kept up with local population increases and changes in lifestyles. That said, I don’t believe that consumers should foot the bill to make the upgrades needed – for decades shareholders have taken millions in dividends from England’s sewage companies.”

According to researchers at the Natural History Museum, sewage is a danger to human health and also has a huge impact on the animals and plants living in waterways. For instance, algal blooms are encouraged by the presence of sewage and can lead to the deaths of many other species.

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