Campaigners say Solent waters 'never smelled so bad' after 'abnormal situation' warning from Environment Agency
CAMPAIGNERS have said the Solent has ‘never smelled this bad’ after the Environment Agency warned of an ‘abnormal situation’ off Southsea and Hayling Island.
The Environment Agency is warning people not get into the water off Eastney and Hayling Island due to an ‘abnormal situation’.
Members of the Final Straw Foundation collected 135kg of rubbish and dirty wet wipes at Eastney on Saturday morning.
Zoe Bentley said she now feared for her own health – such was the disgusting nature of the beach.
She told The News: ‘Myself and my colleagues at Final Straw Foundation and 60 members of the the public were appalled (on Saturday) at state of Eastney after sewage discharge.
‘Never have I been appalled and felt worried for my health on a beach clean.’
Zoe added: ‘I’ve never seen so many wet wipes that have obviously came from sewage discharge.
‘I’ve been doing beach cleans for three years around the Solent and I’ve never seen or smelled it this bad.’
The University of Portsmouth marine and coastal management student added: ‘I spend a lot of time at the beach also so from a management and environmental point of view this has to stop.
‘People are going to get sick soon and not to mention the impact on wildlife and seafood that is eaten from the area.
‘There were a lot of people out today enjoying the sea – swimming, paddle boarding, sailing – and none of them would have been aware of dangers.’
Water quality checks at several locations have been suspended since the start of the incident – 12.20am on Saturday.
The Environment Agency is warning against bathing at Southsea East, Eastney, Eastoke, Beachlands West and Beachlands Central.
‘This incident has been identified as an abnormal situation, water quality monitoring has been suspended,’ a statement said.
‘Monitoring will resume once the incident is over.’
It added: ‘Bathing is not advised, due to pollution from other.’
Dog walker Adrian Handley, 62, said he saw sanitary products and wet wipes at ‘every pace’ on Saturday morning near the Inn on the Beach pub, on Sea Front, Hayling.
‘Every pace had two maybe three items of it – wet wipes, sanitary towels, sewage-related litter,’ he said.
He added: ‘I used to swim but I won’t swim there anymore.
‘I regularly litter pick and I’ve picked up a lot of plastic sanitary wear.’
A spokeswoman for the Environment Agency said: ‘The Environment Agency received several reports of sewage litter and odour on Friday, October 8 at Southsea and Hayling Island.
‘Southern Water have not reported any spills in the area.
“Environment officers have been out on site (on Saturday) and found no evidence of sewage.
‘As a precaution we are advising against bathing in the area. If members of the public see any sign or pollution, please call our free incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.’
It comes after Southern Water was fined £90m for discharging untreated sewage into the Solent and other watercourses between 2010-2015.