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News Article

Wild swimmers see increase in illness due to pollution

Increased discharges of sewage blamed for sickness

Sewage pollution of river and sea swimming spots is putting people’s health at risk, according to a new report published by Surfers Against Sewage – a charity which campaigns for cleaner wild swimming and bathing water in the UK.  

The charity’s report has collated evidence, such as illness reports, medical notes, climate and rainfall data as well data from water and sewage companies. 

They found that raw sewage was released into the rivers and seas in the UK on 770,000 occasions over two years 2020-2021. These discharges of raw and untreated sewage not only pollute the rivers, but risk the health of the swimmers and disrupt the delicate freshwater ecosystems. 

The report’s authors also attribute the 720 cases of sickness to illness caught from polluted water – the vast majority being gastroenteritis however there are many reported cases of Leptospirosis. 

During the pandemic as leisure centres and swimming facilities were closed, many people took to wild swimming as a form of relaxation and exercise. However, there are significant health risks associated with wild swimming including serious bacterial infections including leptospirosis. 

While associations and charities are raising awareness of leptospirosis, most people are unaware of the risks associated with swimming in polluted and dirty waters.

Article details

  • Date
  • 29 November 2022
  • Source
  • Surfers against sewage