Sewage spill turns Portsmouth beach into ‘bathroom bin’

David Jones with bathroom waste on Eastney Beach. ''Picture: Bill Jones
David Jones with bathroom waste on Eastney Beach. ''Picture: Bill Jones
Swansea City Centre. Credit: Wiki Commons (Labelled for reuse)

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A WAVE of waste cotton buds and sanitary products has turned Eastney beach into a bathroom bin.

Southsea resident Betty Corbett said she had seen ‘hundreds of thousands’ of earbuds and other bathroom waste stacking up along the high-tide line of the beach.

Ms Corbett, who was at the beach cleaning up yesterday, was amazed by the extent of the waste, caused by a sewage overspill.

Ms Corbett said: ‘It’s really pretty nasty.

‘At first I thought it might have been a cargo container that had lost its cargo of earbuds.

‘But then I saw all this other stuff on the waterline, like wipes, syringes and sanitary products.

‘I picked up a couple of carrier bags full of these plastic sticks, and I also picked up a lot of other junk as well.’

Ms Corbett called for the mess to be cleaned up as soon as possible.

She said: ‘We need to stop plastic stuff from getting into the sea.

‘It’s important for us, for the tourists who come here and for the fish who live in the ocean.’

David Jones owns Southsea diving centre Triton Scuba and heads conservation group Just One Ocean.

He said: ‘We could see a blue line stretching all the way along the beach where the strand line was and on closer investigation it was made up of plastic sticks.

‘They were half blue and half white and there were so many of them you could scoop them up with your hands.’

Mr Jones said he started Just One Ocean out of concern for marine environment issues.

A Southern Water spokeswoman said the waste was due to a sewerage overflow during storms.

She said: ‘We released stormwater from our emergency outfall at Fort Cumberland during heavy rain on Sunday to prevent flooding inland.

‘Regrettably, due to ongoing issues at the site, the stormwater was not adequately screened before being released from the outfall.

‘This is because the screens were damaged during a storm and now, during severe weather, the force of the water can cause the screens to block and fail.’

The spokeswoman said Southern Water apologised for the waste and was carrying out a clean-up of the beach.

She said Southern Water was working on reducing the risk of sewer floods in Portsmouth and Southsea, and works should be finished later this year.

She said: ‘We are currently working on a £10m scheme to rebuild the site and change the way stormwater enters it, which will ease the pressure on the screens, making them more robust.

‘It’s important to add that items such as wet wipes and cotton buds should not be flushed down the toilet and we urge customers to dispose of them correctly – in the bin.’