Swimming In Sewage

In Cornwall last week heavy rainfall forced the water company to pump raw sewage into the sea, to prevent it from backing up into people’s homes. It is an unusual event but not a rare event as the United Kingdom’s sewage infrastructure was designed for far fewer occupants of these islands and investment in sewage treatment is not a very high priority when it comes to government policy.

The sewage was pumped into the seas off beaches where the Prime Minister and his family were holidaying and swimming. They did not know about it, and the warning system seems to have passed them by.

Sewage works have probably made a greater contribution to public health than all the medicines combined. Cleanliness may not be next to godliness in some minds, but it certainly enables people to live lives which are more disease free.

The problem with pumping sewage into the sea is that it is usually not immediately apparent. Humans are good at pumping things which are harmful into the seas, the rivers, onto the land and into the atmosphere. They have always done it but now their numbers are so many that this harmful habit will create many problems. It is not just swimming in sewage, but also swimming in a sea warmed to such an extent that algae blooms are becoming for frequent and larger, a sea in which there is plenty of plastic and heavy metals from human waste processes and air which is getting fuller of particulates.

One Response

  1. Do fish have WC’s?

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