Human impact stories

from across the uk

Chris Clarke, Thurso

“They said maybe you shouldn’t go surfing this weekend, but it’s pumping so everyone’s in the car park with cans of coke and going in [the sea] trying not to land in the water too much”

Hannah Pearson, River Dart

Hannah Pearson is one of the founding directors at Friends of the Dart. Friends of the Dart is a community group supported by our Protecting Wild Waters Campaign.

Steve Crawford, Scarborough

Steve is an SAS Rep living in Scarborough. He owns and runs a surf school on South Bay beach, but was forced to shut this summer due to poor water quality.

Naomi Jenkin, Newquay

Naomi had contracted a parasite, known to be picked up from water contaminated with sewage, and her life was impacted for five weeks.

Hannah Cushion, River Thames

Hannah had taken part in an organised swim event in the Thames before she was made unwell, along with several others who also took part.

Ben Clifford, Surfability

“Over the last 3 months we have had to cancel lessons three times for bad water quality. It makes a huge difference to us.”

Phoebe Strachan, Thurso

Phoebe Strachan is a 4X Scottish Surfing Champion. “If I end up getting sick then I have to take days off my work which means I then don’t get paid, which makes paying bills and all those things really difficult. I can’t really afford to get sick.”

Robbie Bowman, Cardiff

Robbie Bowman was hospitalised for a week after enjoying a swim with just a small scrape on his leg.

Doug McAlistar, Thurso

Doug is a regular surfer at Thurso and has been surfing for about 35 years. “When you surf out at Thurso, the river is halfway through the lineup… there’s debris in the water and were conscious that the sewage outfall is just here.”

Jason Simpson, Thurso

Jason is a local surfer and chairman of the North Shore Surf Club. “Recently there was a new sewage outfall installed. Wrongfully we assumed the problem of pollution was being addressed with this new plan. That was not the case…

Mary O’Hagan, Lough Neagh

Mary is a swim coach and runs the Ballyronan Blue Tits group. Mary has been cold water swimming for 4 years which has helped with both her physical and mental health.

Ruby Free, Lough Neagh

“As surfer I am in the water most weekends so seeing the place I love actively being destroyed is one of the most heartbreaking things.”

Carla MaGee, Lough Neagh

As a keen surfer and someone who relies on the ocean for her work, poor water quality is something that can impact Carla on a day to day basis.

Siobhan Swift, Scarborough

Siobhan is Head of Operations at The Wave Project in Scarborough. They have had to cancel and postpone surf therapy sessions due to sewage pollution alerts which has a huge impact on the young people she works with.

Finn MacDonald, Thurso

Finn lives in Thurso and runs North Coast Water Sports with his girlfriend.

Kristin Maine, Thurso

Kristin is a surfer living in front of beautiful Thurso East and the infamous surf break ‘Shit Pipe’. “I’m not sure what’s in the water but there’s a lot of people that get sick, and I’ve felt it as well”

David Adams, Thurso

David lives in Thurso, having built his life around surfing. “There is no alert to it. The only warning we get is the smell in the water.”

Reuben Santer, Devon

Reuben was a Secondary School Physics Teacher who has been forced to stop working due to his illness.

Craig Mclachlan, Thurso

Craig, a surfer from Scotland, tells us about the impact polluted water has had on his health.