Over the first weekend in August local protesters gathered at beaches and rivers across the UK — Seaton Beach was a prominent location as protesters stated “it is the most sewage-polluted bathing site in Cornwall”.

Members of Extinction Rebellion and Surfers Against Sewage engaged tourists and beach visitors at Seaton beach with banners, flags and information tables as well as face-in-the-hole boards, textile printing and a petition against water pollution as part of a national weekend of protests.

Banners carried the message: “Sun, Sea, Sand & Sewage” and “End Sewage Pollution”.

Marcus Kern, a local resident and regional representative for national campaigning group Surfers Against Sewage said: “Every summer we’re watching the same nightmare unfold. The crumbling sewage infrastructure fails with even modest amounts of rain and spills raw sewage into our rivers and beaches. Last year sewage was dumped 375,000 times for a combined 2.3-million hours. Over the same period, England’s water companies paid out £1.4 billion pounds to shareholders. Instead they should use every last penny to get this situation fixed. I’m sick of it. This has to stop.”

“Apart from organic matter, raw sewage often also contains microplastics, industrial and agricultural chemicals, parasites and heavy metals. This chemical cocktail is not only dangerous to humans but can harm marine ecosystems.”

According to Surfers Against Sewage, there have been 22 sewage alerts this year at Seaton Beach.

The protest followed a campaign of banner drops from bridges across England to welcome tourists to popular holiday locations on Friday, August 4, and a targeted protest on July 20 aimed at shareholders of South West Water.

Campaigner Etienne Stott, Olympic Gold Medal canoeist said earlier this year: “It’s disgusting, literally, to think what’s being pumped into our rivers. The government and the water companies aren’t going to clean up unless ordinary people put pressure on them. Extinction Rebellion can’t do this alone. We need everyone who cares about our rivers and seas to stand up with us and speak out. The Dirty Water actions are part of a bigger campaign to protect nature and our waterways.”