Activists, including Extinction Rebellion (XR), have once again awarded a blue plaque to the Conservative government for its commitment to Britain’s waterways. What is that commitment, you may ask? Well, according to the activists themselves, it’s a commitment to turn our pleasant blue waterways into literal “open sewers”.
Extinction Rebellion help with an ‘inflatable poo flotilla’
The action was organised by Dirty Water – a group made up of XR, as well as “local health professionals, a group of cold water synchronised swimmers, samba drummers and our very own mermaid”.
A press release from the group noted:
The Dirty Water campaign returned to Bristol today to unveil a giant satirical ‘blue plaque’ on the cascade steps near Bristol Harbour, accompanied by a flotilla of inflatable poo, dead fish and other pollutants to draw attention to the alarming levels of untreated sewage, agricultural pollution and industrial waste that are routinely poured into our rivers and coastal waters.
[The group] congregated at 10am to hear speeches and watch Bristol Green Party leader Emma Edwards unveil the plaque whilst the Cascade steps were decorated with various representations of pollution (which too frequently goes unnoticed) before heading out to talk to the public about the problem and distribute stickers which include a smaller version of the plaque.
Dirty Water began its campaign in January by affixing blue plaques along the River Avon near Conham River Park, around the Harbour, and along the River Frome. The group recently took action at the headquarters of Thames Water and Southern Water. The Canary reported that the group gave its first blue plaque out to Jacob Rees-Mogg – namely for his ‘commitment to filth‘:
If your local MP complains about their blue plaque remind them of this.
Gov MPs voted to legalise the dumping of sewage into the environment; something that had been illegal since 1991.
Did they not understand that or hadn't the Whips Office explained it to them? https://t.co/dZBxzyadWI
— Feargal Sharkey (@Feargal_Sharkey) January 29, 2023
The latest plaque is linked to what Dirty Water refer to as “a recent disappointing decision taken by government”. It reads:
THE UK GOVERNMENT Extended the deadline for all of our rivers and coastal waters to achieve ‘good’ ecological and chemical status by almost 40 years(from 2027 to 2063)
Dirty Water Bristol spokesperson Daniel Juniper said:
We’ve watched in horror as our rivers and seas have become open sewers since October 2021, when the government voted down a proposal to stop water companies pumping waste directly into our rivers and seas. They justified this by claiming that the proposal was too expensive. These plaques shine a light on the government’s failure to protect our waterways, the natural world, and all of us.
Olympic Gold Medal canoeist and campaigner Etienne Stott said:
It’s disgusting, literally, to think what’s being pumped into our rivers. The government and the water companies aren’t going to clean up unless ordinary people put pressure on them. Extinction Rebellion can’t do this alone. We need everyone who cares about our rivers and seas to stand up with us and speak out.
According to Dirty Water Bristol:
Today is just the first part of a bigger campaign to protect nature and our waterways. More actions will be taking place over the coming months.
Featured image via Dirty Water Bristol
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