A protest took place at Teignmouth Back Beach on January 28 as part of the Dirty Water nationwide protests. This was a collaborative effort involving Extinction Rebellion and a broad range of campaigning groups and highlighted the ongoing pollution of our seas and inland waterways.
As our MP wasn’t able to accept our invitation to the event, we provided an empty chair and a bucket of river water as an alternative.
The organisers would like to thank everyone who came and made their voices heard in protest at the ongoing pollution of the marine environment and freshwater habitats.
A special thanks also go to The Green Spirits and Devon Drummers who powerfully added to the power of the protest.
Local Extinction Rebellion spokesperson – Mike Puleston – said:
“The fantastic turnout of around 200 protesters and activists from Teignbridge, Totnes, Exeter and even Sidmouth speaks volumes about the concerns and strength of feeling about the fact that storm overflow discharges are continuing to pollute not only the ecologically rich and beautiful River Teign estuary but rivers, lakes and coastal areas throughout the UK. We were joined today by hundreds of similar protests by thousands of activists throughout the UK who are campaigning for their local waterways, coastal waters and freshwater habitats to be cleaned up and protected.
The protest today was to call out Newton Abbot MP Anne Marie Morris who voted, like 264 other Tory MPs, against the Duke of Wellington’s elements of Lords’ Amendment 45. This would have placed a new duty on sewerage handlers in England and Wales to make improvements to their sewerage systems and demonstrate progressive reductions in the harm caused by discharges of untreated sewage.
We had some powerful speeches from wild swimmer Peta Howell, Martin Wrigley Lib Dem Parliamentary candidate for Teignbridge, Annie Mitchell of Extinction Rebellion Psychologists and David Cox, councillor. who has campaigned for South West Water to improve the water quality at Teignmouth.
I look forward to Anne Marie Morris’s response to the protest: essentially the Dirty Water Campaign is designed to pressure government and commercial interests to clean up their act.
Setting targets which continually get set back will not actively clean up our seas, lakes, rivers and waterways – we need real action! Time is running out as our freshwater biodiversity crashes due to many forms of pollution and over-extraction.
There will be further protests and demands as wave two of our Dirty Water campaign continues.”
Editor’s comment: Environment Secretary Thérèse Coffey blithely gaslit parliament and the rest of us when she claimed that bathing water quality had improved under this administration. In fact, the UK is consistently near the bottom of European league tables for bathing water quality. Not a single river meets good chemical water quality standards. What is more, Coffey has shifted the deadline for water companies to clean up their act from 2027 to 2063. Does that sound like she gives a sh*t, as she claimed to do in parliament or does it sound more like the privatised water companies have her ear? Note that water charges are going up by around 7.5 per cent…and all so we can have more sh*t in the sea. Lovely.