Edinburgh swimmers and surfers to protest on Portobello Beach after E.coli found in local waters
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Local surfers and swimmers will gather at a popular beauty spot to demand an end to sewage discharge.
Protesters will paddle out into the water on Portobello Beach, as part of a national day of action, organised by Surfers Against Sewage, on Saturday, May 20. This comes after recent reports of potential contamination near Edinburgh and East Lothian. Last year, a high-level of E.coli was found in the waters at Figgate Burn near Portobello Beach, after testing done over a nine week period by Surfers Against Sewage. The organisation has claimed that water samples taken from Scotland were the worst affected by the harmful bacteria.
The issue isn’t isolated to the Edinburgh area. Last year, a Scottish Water report revealed that sewage was discharged 14,008 times across Scotland in 2022, with around 38 “overflow events” occurring a day. Kimberley Travers, a regional representative for Surfers Against Sewage hopes the event will help raise awareness of the sewage problem.
She believes many who are swimming in local waters aren’t aware of the poor water quality. She said: “At Portobello, there’s loads of wild swimmers and kids playing in the water. Nobody has any idea of it, there’s no banners anywhere to say there’s bad water quality today.”
While she has never gotten sick from surfing, Kimberley says she knows several others who have fallen ill the day after bathing at local beaches. She has encouraged anyone who cares about the environment to come out to the Paddle Out event, and said: “We want to make a scene, inspire people and bring the community together”.