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US Tourists Beware Of UK’s ‘Poopy’ Beaches With Raw Sewage

US travelers are warned about sewage on the UK's 'poopy' beaches
US travelers are warned about sewage on the UK’s ‘poopy’ beaches [Image by topsy_toby98 from Pixabay]
With its stunning scenery, beaches historic sites with a touch of royalty, the United Kingdom (UK) is a top destination for US tourists. However, when planning to visit its beautiful coastlines and seemingly idyllic beaches, Americans are warned that they could find themselves swimming among sewage. What can they do to avoid this unpleasant aspect of the UK’s beaches?

US travelers warned of ‘poopy’ beaches in the UK

Many American travelers head to the UK each year. They are fascinated by its history and royalty and enjoy the incredible scenery and beaches. However, they are warned that on some beaches, they might find themselves swimming in raw sewage.

Sewage outfall at the beach
Sewage outfall at the beach [Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay]
According to CNN, the problem with effluent-filled beaches is worsening, after news of raw sewage overflowing into the water at the beaches continues. This led to a national scandal in the UK in 2022. Meanwhile, the root of the problem can be traced to its raw sewage overflows, which dump the contents of overly full drains into the sea and rivers. This dumping is supposed to be done only in exceptional circumstances.

Sewage at the beach

Since 2021, the raw sewage overflows have become all too common, leading to water quality problems on a shocking scale. Since then, Britons all too often see beaches closed over peak summer weekends. Alternatively, they found themselves swimming among raw sewage, while also spotting dead marine life in the UK’s rivers.

Brighton, UK
Brighton, UK [Image by Howard Walsh from Pixabay]
Data revealed in 2021 indicated that storm overflows across the UK had released contaminated wastewater for a shocking combined 2.7 million hours. Meanwhile, it continues to worsen, leading to outrage from the British public in 2022.

During a bank holiday weekend in August 2022, a time when Britons usually head to the beaches, saw Brighton and Hove closed down due to the poopy spillage. Hugo Tagholm, former CEO of the marine conservation charity Surfers Against Sewage told CNN at the time:

Brighton and Hove seem to be deluged over and over again.

Monitoring sewage at the beach

Beach in Dorset, UK
Beach in Dorset, UK [Image by Greg Montani from Pixabay]
Meanwhile, last weekend, Surfers Against Sewage revealed a live tracker tool, indicating that 12 out of 14 storm overflows on the popular tourist destination of the Isle of Wight were at that time spewing sewage. Meanwhile, sewage overflows were reported in Devon, including Sandy Bay, a beach that was previously awarded Blue Flag status for its unspoiled waters.

Moreover, the annual Event Environment Agency (EDM), which reports on storm overflows revealed in March that according to the UK government’s Environment Agency, sewage spills soared in 2023 by a shocking 54 percent. In total, the spills rose from 301,091 to 464,056.

The number of “well-behaved” overflows also went down with 48 percent spilling their contents less than 10 times a year in 2022. Meanwhile, the number that didn’t spill also reduced from 18 percent to fewer than 14 percent.

Giles Bristow, the current CEO of Surfers Against Sewage told CNN:

It’s a total scandal. Things have got massively worse – it’s a shocker.

Moreover, Bristow blames “massive underinvestment by private water companies who’ve failed to do their duty” for the ever-increasing poopy water problems.

How can you avoid poopy beaches in the UK?

Bristowe, who swims and surfs in UK waters, advises travelers to download the real-time Safer Seas & Rivers Service’s water quality tracking app. Alternatively, US visitors can consult the real-time map on its website prior to heading to the beach.

Moreover, Bristowe told travelers to vacation on the UK’s beaches when they are open, and head iout into the water where it is deemed safe, saying:

We have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and hospitable communities. Come and surf, enjoy our beaches and our breaks. But download the app, and know where to go in.

These are wise words indeed for American travelers hoping to swim at the UK’s beaches this summer.



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