Stop the Sewage Southsea petition leads to video billboards along shoreline warning swimmers of sewage discharges

ENVIRONMENTAL group Stop The Sewage Southsea has ‘big plans’ for 2022 – ranging from sewage discharge safety signs to an ‘inflatable-poo relay’ to protest Southern Water’s pollution record.

Monday, 3rd January 2022, 4:27 pm

The environmental group – founded in October – is celebrating a successful petition that called on the city council to put up shoreline billboards warning swimmers and visitors of recent sewage discharges.

The council has agreed to install two live video terminals - one outside the Coffee Cup in Eastney Esplanade and one by the Briny restaurant in Clarence Esplanade.

They will feature real-time information from Southern Water regarding sewage discharges into nearby waters.

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Some of the hundreds who came to Stop The Sewage Southsea's first protest against Southern Water in October. Picture: Mike Cooter (161021)

The video terminals will be among the first in the country to be put in place to warn when pollution has made swimming unsafe, according to Sarah Shreeve, an active sea swimmer who founded Stop The Sewage Southsea.

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The group was founded after years of concern about these discharges from the water company, which was fined last year a record £90m for pumping untreated sewage into the Solent and other waters since 2010.

Now the group hopes the video billboards will be in place for the bathing season in March – kicking off a year of ‘big plans’ to highlight Southern Water’s record on pollution across the Solent.

Organiser Sarah Shreeve (34) addresses Stop the Sewage's first protest in October, when hundreds gathered at Southsea Beach to protest Southern Water's pollution record. Picture: Mike Cooter (161021)

The 34-year-old said: ‘We are going en masse to the sewage works (at the Budds Farm site) at the end of January or start of February.

‘There were so many petitions circulating that they just weren’t getting any traction so we’ve just gone for physical visits.

‘We’ve got 2,000 people on our Facebook page and we’re looking at hiring a bus so people can get there as greenly as possible. (We’re) looking to set up the event in the next week or so.’

And the summer will see the south coast’s first ‘inflatable-poo relay’ thanks to the group, which is looking to organise a Solent-wide event to highlight the problem of effluent in the popular waterway.

Sarah said: ‘We’re trying to do protest the whole way up from Dorest, where we are going to tow an inflatable poo from swimmers and paddle-boarders.

‘This will go along the whole length of the Southern Water coastline to raise awareness on how much of the coast they are polluting.’

The campaigner added: ‘I think we are in for the long haul. We want to keep the momentum going. We need to keep the pressure on consistently.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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