Health campaigners claim that Southern Water is threatening the health of people in Kent — and have called a mass protest against the company on Saturday 23 October in Margate.
The protest follows an incident earlier this month in which beaches around Thanet were closed to swimmers after the company admitted pouring untreated sewage into the sea.
Save Our NHS In Kent (SONIK) are calling for the water company to be brought back under public ownership and to be made directly accountable for their impact on health and the environmental.A spokesperson for SONIK said: “Year after year Southern Water has pumped raw sewage into the sea off the coast of Kent. These poisonous discharges pose an enormous risk to public health — they must be stopped.”
Raw sewage, the campaigners point out, bring many, potentially deadly, risks to human health.
“Sewage contains a host of bugs and parasites, including campylobacter, salmonella, E-coli and listeria, which can not only make people ill but also may kill them.”
“It’s extremely likely, for example, that these sewage discharges have resulted in the contaminated shellfish which have been discovered along the south coast. Eating them can result in prople getting the potentially fatal norovirus.”
And this is not a question of unfortunate accidents, according to the campaigners — they claim Southern Water are KNOWINGLY exposing people to these health risks.
The SONIK spokesperson said: “This isn’t something accidental — Southern Water knows exactly what it’s doing. It is periodically flooding our sea with these poisons because this maximises its profits.
“In July we learnt in court that the company wilfully and knowingly discharged untreated sewage into the sea 7,000 times between 2010- 2015. More than that, we also found out that they tried to cover up what they’d done, concealing important documents from the Environmental Agency’s investigators and trying to stop them entering treatment facilities. As a result the company was fined a record £90 million.”
“This is the most appalling and disgusting form of criminal capitalism and must be stopped. And it’s absolutely not enough to just fine them — water companies like Southern Water are private monopolies and make huge profits. The fines are nothing to them.This company and others like them, should be taken under public control immediately and be held directly accountable for the impact of their actions on our health and environment.”
“We need to protest against this disgusting, deadly company in the strongest terms. Bring your own banners, placards or posters and come to Margate harbour on Saturday 23 October.Make your voices heard!”
Protestors will assemble at 12 noon at Margate Harbour Steps on Saturday 23 October.
Note to editors: Southern Water made over £200m in profits in each of the last three years. Its Jersey-based owners Greensands Holdings are controlled from the Cayman Islands. For more information or interviews ring 07989070843.
. Come along and join a protest initiated by SONiK. All welcome.