'We should be banning baths': How you can help reduce nitrogen pollution in the Solent

NITROGEN in water is a danger to plants, animals and even humans.

Friday, 22nd November 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 22nd November 2019, 8:20 am

It causes algae to grow quickly, which reduces levels of oxygen in water and in turn endangers seabeds, fish, crabs and other aquatic animals.

And if high levels are found in our drinking water it can also be dangerous to humans - particularly infants, as it can restrict oxygen being transported in the bloodstream.

Some are fearful this could soon be a problem faced by coastal areas around the UK.

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Architectural technologist Ian Knight

It is thought around 5,000 new homes have been put on hold since spring in the south of Hampshire as authorities are still struggling to find a way to stop harmful levels of nitrogen reaching the sea.

Architectural technologist Ian Knight, based in Portsmouth has been looking into the situation since housebuilding was postponed as a result earlier this year.

'This is set to become a problem in many other places - not just the Solent,' he said.

'Nitrates in our water supply tend to increase very slowly over time anyway.

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'I think it will affect the south of Dorset, Devon, Cornwall and Humberside.'

However, he said there were things we could do to help by reducing our wastewater.

He said: 'The main issue isn't new builds. If you're in an old house with a bath, an old toilet and an old washing machine you're using so much more water than new homes.

'An old fashioned toilet uses about 15 litres of water with every flush, whereas a newer toilet uses about 3.5 litres.

'And really we should be banning baths completely.'