Tag Archives: rivers

Polio is back – because privatised water firms were allowed to dump untreated sewage?

Rivers of Sh*t: Boris Johnson couldn’t be bothered to think about the details of his Brexit, and now the UK is suffering shortages of materials including those used to clean sewage. So partially-cleaned and harmful crap is going directly into our rivers – including faeces containing the polio virus, that could paralyse people who have not been vaccinated against it.

It’s true – a disease that we thought we had eradicated is back, due to Tory short-sightedness:

Here‘s a government press release on what has happened:

The UK Heath Security Agency (UKHSA), working with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), has found poliovirus in sewage samples collected from the London Beckton Sewage Treatment Works.

As part of routine surveillance, it is normal for one to three ‘vaccine-like’ polioviruses to be detected each year in UK sewage samples but these have always been one-off findings that were not detected again. These previous detections occurred when an individual vaccinated overseas with the live oral polio vaccine (OPV) returned or travelled to the UK and briefly ‘shed’ traces of the vaccine-like poliovirus in their faeces.

Investigations are underway after several closely-related viruses were found in sewage samples taken between February and May. The virus has continued to evolve and is now classified as a ‘vaccine-derived’ poliovirus type 2 (VDPV2), which on rare occasions can cause serious illness, such as paralysis, in people who are not fully vaccinated.

The detection of a VDPV2 suggests it is likely there has been some spread between closely-linked individuals in North and East London and that they are now shedding the type 2 poliovirus strain in their faeces. The virus has only been detected in sewage samples and no associated cases of paralysis have been reported – but investigations will aim to establish if any community transmission is occurring.

The last case of wild polio contracted in the UK was confirmed in 1984. The UK was declared polio-free in 2003.

Dr Vanessa Saliba, Consultant Epidemiologist at UKHSA said:

Vaccine-derived poliovirus is rare and the risk to the public overall is extremely low.

Vaccine-derived poliovirus has the potential to spread, particularly in communities where vaccine uptake is lower. On rare occasions it can cause paralysis in people who are not fully vaccinated so if you or your child are not up to date with your polio vaccinations it’s important you contact your GP to catch up or if unsure check your Red Book. Most of the UK population will be protected from vaccination in childhood, but in some communities with low vaccine coverage, individuals may remain at risk.

We are urgently investigating to better understand the extent of this transmission and the NHS has been asked to swiftly report any suspected cases to the UKHSA, though no cases have been reported or confirmed so far.

Jane Clegg, Chief nurse for the NHS in London said:

The majority of Londoners are fully protected against Polio and won’t need to take any further action, but the NHS will begin reaching out to parents of children aged under 5 in London who are not up to date with their Polio vaccinations to invite them to get protected.

Meanwhile, parents can also check their child’s vaccination status in their Red Book and people should contact their GP surgery to book a vaccination, should they or their child not be fully up to date.

The UK is considered by the World Health Organization to be polio-free, with low-risk for polio transmission due to the high level of vaccine coverage across the population. However, vaccine coverage for childhood vaccines has decreased nationally and especially in parts of London over the past few years, so UKHSA is urging people to check they are up to date with their vaccines.

Wastewater surveillance is being expanded to assess the extent of transmission and identify local areas for targeted action. Healthcare professionals have been alerted to these findings so they can promptly investigate and report anyone presenting with symptoms that could be polio, such as paralysis.

So it’s in the sewage and, because some people have decided not to vaccinate their children (based on a falsehood, as I understand it), there’s a risk that someone may catch polio and be paralysed.

And there are concerns that it may spread – or may have spread already. Well, with untreated sewage going directly into the rivers, it’s entirely possible, isn’t it?

Another brilliant Tory idea to cope with the consequences of their brilliant Brexit causes trouble.

ADDITIONAL: This is worrying:

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Here’s how you can defend your local river. Or do you LIKE swimming in sewage?

Rivers of Shit: under Boris Johnson’s Conservative leadership, this could be happening to all the rivers near you – indefinitely. Are you really willing to accept that?

Will YOU defend your local rivers from being engulfed in an ever-increasing tide of sewage dumped by the privatised water companies who simply don’t want to clean it?

Are are you just the kind of person who complains from an armchair but is scared to put your head above the parapet when push comes to shove?

If you’re a Vox Political reader, This Writer reckons you’re probably brave enough to take action – and it’s needed now.

Today (Monday, November 8), the government under Boris ‘Rivers of Sh*t’ Johnson is planning to reverse a Lords amendment to its Environment Bill in the latest instalment in a game of Parliamentary ping-pong (and I do mean pong) between the Lower and Upper Houses of Parliament.

The Lords want to force water companies to “take all reasonable steps to ensure untreated sewage is not discharged from storm overflows”.

But Boris Johnson’s cheapjacks say it is too expensive – the cost could reach £150 billion, meaning an increase of thousands of pounds on our water bills.

The counter-argument is that private concerns were only allowed to take control of our water and sewage system on the understanding that they would use some of their profits to invest in improvements to the system. If that hasn’t happened, then it’s up to the water firms to find the money now – not us.

Now I’m going to hand you over to our rivers correspondent who will explain how you can help:

Personally, I’d use https://www.writetothem.com/ but the choice is yours.

Will you act?

Or do you want this to happen to your nearest river – indefinitely?

The choice is yours.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Get your cholera jab booked; MPs won’t stop pumping raw sewage into our waters

Boris Johnson’s Britain: “one of the most effluent nations in the world” as Dr Louise Raw put it when she tweeted this image.

Here’s an MP who doesn’t know when to keep quiet – This Writer’s MP, as it happens (although I didn’t vote for her):

Fay Jones didn’t vote to defeat the Lords’ amendment to the Environment Bill and allow water companies to continue dumping raw sewage into the UK’s waterways. I don’t know the reason.

She could have distanced herself from a decision that means raw sewage will be pumped into waterways across the UK – not just on the coast…

… but instead she has tried to justify the decision with a false argument – about money.

Firstly, taxpayers would not fund the cost of digging up the Victorian sewerage system – the cost would be paid by the government, which may then decide to tax us in order to prevent that expenditure from pushing up inflation; that is how taxation works in the UK. The current tax system puts too much of the burden onto the poor, but that’s what happens when you vote for a Tory government.

Secondly, the cost of digging up the Victorian sewerage system should be borne by the privatised water companies, if it is necessary. Their shareholders bought these companies from the then-UK government (Conservative) on the understanding that they would fund improvements from their own budgets – not demand handouts from the government while paying huge profits to themselves.

Thirdly, where did Ms Jones dig up this £600 billion figure? Our river quality correspondent has asked her…

… but it seems Ms Jones is more interested in blocking people who make such inquiries:

Oh, and Ms Jones’s claim that the government is already reducing discharge from storm overflows seems to be contradicted by much of the evidence we’re seeing:

At the end of the day, I’m finding Mitch Benn’s theory quite compelling:

There is a cholera vaccine available in the UK.

Be careful not to overstretch the NHS when you demand it!

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On eve of COP26 conference, Tories endorse dumping sewage in rivers

Here’s an angry public figure: Feargal Sharkey was the singer of The Undertones and The Assembly before having a career as a solo performer – and he is now an environmental campaigner against the pollution of British rivers. He knows his stuff.

Here’s what made the dumping possible:

The Tory government had previously given polluters the green light to dump risky sewage that has not been properly cleaned into rivers and the sea, after it turned out that Brexit had closed the UK’s borders to chemicals that are used to treat effluent.

The Environment Agency said companies struggling to get hold of the chemicals would be allowed to “discharge effluent without meeting the conditions” of their permits, which normally require water to be treated by a multi-step process.

Companies should “resume use of chemicals to treat effluent as soon as is practicable”, the agency said.

But now it seems the government has reneged on this demand. According to Evolve Politics,

Lords Amendment 45 to the Environment Bill would have placed a legal duty on water companies in England and Wales “to make improvements to their sewerage systems and demonstrate progressive reductions in the harm caused by discharges of untreated sewage.

Treating raw sewage costs money – and many have speculated that privatised water companies are simply dumping it into our waterways in order to make bigger profits.

Despite the horrendous environmental impact of the disgusting practice, shortly before the vote, the Conservative Environment Secretary George Eustace recommended to his fellow MPs that they should reject it.

And, owing largely to the government’s 80 seat majority, the amendment was indeed defeated – by a margin of 268 MPs to 204.

You can see how your MP voted on the amendment here.

There has been a lot of speculation about the Tories’ reasons for blocking the amendment. For example:

Others have suggested the possibility that MPs have shares in the polluting companies and hope to make a fortune on the cash saved by not cleaning the water before dumping it.

Whatever the reason, the optics (as they are known) are terrible, right before the big COP26 climate change summit.

Boris Johnson is on record as having said he wants the UK to be the “cleanest, greenest” country; instead, he’s sending his lieutenant, Alok Sharma, to host the climate conference in one of the world’s major water polluters.

If either of them try to claim the moral high ground on the environment, the hypocrisy will sink them – hopefully, beneath a wave of their own effluent.

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Boris Johnson’s Brexit legacy: Rivers of sh*t

Rivers of Shit: Boris Johnson couldn’t be bothered to think about the details of his Brexit, and now the UK is suffering shortages of materials including those used to clean sewage. So partially-cleaned and harmful crap is going directly into our rivers.

As with so many of his choices, Boris Johnson’s decision not to bother with finicky little details has let him down again.

And now his detractors – including This Site – are likening him to another Conservative Party ‘character’: Enoch Powell.

Back in the 1960s, Powell warned against wide-scale immigration with a speech named after its strongest image: Rivers of Blood.

Now, after Brexit removed the UK from the EU’s ‘free movement’ rule, it seems our borders have been closed to much more than human beings.

A shortage of chemicals that are used to treat effluent means the government has relaxed restrictions and polluters will be allowed to dump potentially harmful sewage directly into the UK’s rivers, making them dirty, dangerous, disease-ridden… Rivers of Shit.

I make no apology for the offensive word. Boris Johnson is an offensive creature and his name deserves to be linked with it.

Here’s The Independent with the story Johnson probably wishes he could flush away:

The government has given polluters the green light to dump risky sewage that has not been properly cleaned into rivers and the sea as Brexit and Covid disrupt normal water treatment.

In recent weeks some businesses have found it more difficult to get hold of water treatment chemicals because of supply chain disruption at ports blamed primarily on Britain’s departure from the EU.

The Environment Agency this week said companies struggling to get hold of the required chemicals would be allowed to “discharge effluent without meeting the conditions” of their permits, which normally require water to be treated by a multi-step process.

Companies should “resume use of chemicals to treat effluent as soon as is practicable”, the agency said. The regulatory relaxation will last until at least the end of the year, with an extension possible.

“This wasn’t on the side of the bus was it?” commented Julie Atkinson on Twitter, referring to Johnson’s controversial campaign bus in the run-up to the EU referendum, which claimed leaving the bloc would provide huge advantages to the UK.

No, it wasn’t – but it could get inside your children, or even you, if you aren’t careful.

“Welcome to Boris Johnson’s “golden age,” tweeted Peter Stefanovic – although I wonder if “golden” is the right description for the stuff being pumped into our waters as I type these words.

Kids have been known to play in rivers – I know they do, here in Mid Wales, even when they’re told not to – and the relaxation of water treatment rules means it is possible that they will ingest potentially disease-carrying waste because of Boris Johnson’s decisions.

You may hope that they won’t, or that it won’t make a difference – after all, water companies broke the rules to discharge raw sewage into UK rivers no fewer than 400,000 times last year alone. That’ll be Tory “light-touch” regulation for you!

This Writer fears it may be a forlorn hope.

If not his epitaph, it should become his nickname. His forerunner became Enoch “Rivers of Blood” Powell, after all.

So it is only right that he should be known as Boris “Rivers of Shit” Johnson.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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