Greater Manchester’s waterways contain tonnes of sewage

Greater Manchester is one of the UK’s worst affected areas for sewage discharge according to a study conducted by conservation group, The Rivers Trust. 

Figures published earlier this year showed untreated effluent, including human waste, wet wipes and condoms were released into waterways for more than three million hours in 2020.

The Environmental Agency, who found all the major water utility companies had partaken in the practice, currently allow water companies to release sewage into rivers and streams after extreme weather events. 

The Rivers Trust has now shown that the North of England, particularly the boroughs of Greater Manchester, have seen incredibly high and widespread levels of discharge. 

The conservation experts who are made up of 63 member rivers trusts around the UK, said in a statement on their website: “We want to help you find out where sewage is discharged into rivers, enabling you to make informed decisions about where you swim, paddle, catch and play. 

“Our map shows where the sewerage network discharges and overflows into rivers. Be warned: you might not like what you discover!”

The news follows reports this week of Conservative MPs defending their decision to vote down a proposal from the House of Lords that would have placed duties on companies to reduce discharge. 

It is also awkwardly timed for a government that is hosting the COP26 climate summit next week, by many experts’ predictions, the last best opportunity for unilateral coordination to tackle climate change. 

The Rivers Trust added: “Avoid entering the water immediately downstream of these overflows, especially after it has been raining. 

“Use the search box or zoom on the map to find your location.

“Shocked by this map and want to do something about it? Join us in our fight for healthy, clean rivers and support our campaigns.”

Fresh proposals to the Environmental Bill are expected to return to the Lords on Tuesday where peers are likely to re-insert measures before it goes back to the House of Commons later this week.  

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