Health Hazard: Sewage-Related Surge in Waterborne Illnesses

The alarming surge in waterborne diseases in England has prompted urgent calls for action to address sewage discharge and safeguard public health, as hospital admissions have risen by 60% since 2010. Here’s the full story.

Protecting or Conserving

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The name of the current governing party of the United Kingdom, the Conservatives, is a misnomer when it comes to protecting or conserving the UK’s waterways. 

Watering Down

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A recent report from the Labour Party in England has unveiled the horrifying state of pollution in rivers and lakes following the watering down of environmental regulations following Brexit. 

60% Surge

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The report has shown that hospital admissions due to waterborne diseases have surged 60% since 2010.

Ancient Scourge

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The analysis of NHS data from 2010-11 to 2022-23 reveals a significant increase in the number of individuals admitted to hospitals with diseases transmitted through waterborne infections, such as leptospirosis and typhoid, the scourge of the ancient world. 

Sorry State

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This rise in cases, from 2,085 to 3,286, is deeply alarming and has drawn attention to the sorry state of environmental protections, which have been slowly eroded under the current government.

Record Spills

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The surge in waterborne diseases follows revelations of record sewage spills, which were revealed by analysing Environment Agency data. 

3.6 Million Hours

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In the past year alone, over 3.6 million hours of raw sewage were discharged into rivers and seas, a staggering 129% increase over the previous year. 

Human Waste

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It should be no surprise to anyone that increased sewage in water bodies elevates the risk of infections. People are more likely to come into contact with harmful bacteria present in human waste.

Dysentery and Weil’s Disease

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Waterborne diseases such as dysentery and Weil’s disease have seen an increase that would not be out of place in a developing country. 

Doubling of Cases

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Cases of leptospirosis, commonly known as Weil’s disease, have doubled since 2010. Leptospirosis, which can lead to severe health complications, including liver damage and kidney failure, is transmitted through polluted water. 

War-Torn Countries

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Similarly, cases of typhoid, another waterborne illness mostly seen in war-torn countries or those that have recently suffered a natural disaster, have risen significantly over the years.

“It is Sickening”

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Labour’s shadow environment secretary, Steve Reed, stated, “It is sickening that this Conservative government has turned a blind eye to illegal sewage dumping that has put thousands of people in hospital. To make matters worse, consumers face higher water bills while water bosses pocket millions in bonuses.

“Special Measures”

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He continued, “Labour will put the water companies under special measures to clean up water. We will strengthen regulation so that law-breaking water bosses face criminal charges and give the regulator new powers to block the payment of any bonuses until water bosses have cleaned up their filth.”

Trickling Up

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Unlike most of the changes to environmental policy, the loosening of rules regarding the release of sewage in England’s rivers has actually begun to affect events held in high regard by the majority of the British government’s privately educated ranks. 

E Coli

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Organisers of the Oxford and Cambridge boat race have issued new safety guidelines. They urge participants to avoid direct contact with the water and cover any open wounds due to elevated levels of E coli bacteria in the River Thames. 

You’ll Never Go In The Water Again

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Due to the seriousness of the health concerns, the situation has become so dire that winners have been advised to refrain from their traditional victory celebration of jumping into the river. 

86% Support

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Alastair Chisholm, director of policy at the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management, highlighted public support for reform with 86% of the population supporting water reform under the next government. 

“River Crisis”

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Richard Benwell, chief executive of Wildlife and Countryside Link, stated, “Our research shows 86% of the public want water reformed under the next government. Our river crisis is not only impacting the health of nature, but it’s making people sick, too. That has to change. We need urgent reform.”

Switching Sides

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The situation has become so dire that it has forced previous Conservative Party supporters to switch sides. 

“Engorged with Excrement”

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Richard Walker, businessman and former Chair of Surfers Against Sewage, who was previously a Tory donor, stated, “The way the Tories have allowed our coasts, rivers, and streams to become engorged with excrement is the perfect metaphor for the way they’ve treated the country these past 14 years. Labour’s plan will take the tough action required to get our vital utilities back to serving the public interest.”

“Fear of Getting Sick”

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He continued: “Everyone deserves to enjoy our beautiful coastline and rivers without the fear of getting sick because some fat cat has been shovelling out dividends rather than investing in vital improvements.”

Raw Sewage

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As concerns over waterborne diseases that were endemic during ancient times rise again in England, there has never been a more pronounced need to reform the water companies responsible for releasing raw sewage into the country’s rivers and streams. 

Victorian Era

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Failure to act swiftly will only exacerbate the severe health risks associated with polluted water bodies, risking the return of diseases which were last prevalent in the UK during the Victorian Era. 

The post Health Hazard: Surge in Waterborne Illnesses Linked to Sewage Discharge first appeared on Swift Feed.

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