Waste water on British coasts threatens to ruin the traditional Christmas bathing fun for Britons. "This is really a Christmas fun killer. Most people dream of a white Christmas, not a brown one," British Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron told the Telegraph.
If the pipes to the sewage treatment plants are too full after heavy rainfall, excess sewage can be discharged directly into the sea and the rivers - a number of sewage treatment plants have recently used this option. Dozens of beaches were subsequently closed due to pollution.
In many British coastal towns or on rivers and lakes, a number of courageous people traditionally gather over the Christmas and New Year holidays to dare to jump into the cold water, regardless of winter temperatures. In Bournemouth, several Britons dressed up as lobsters or sharks had fun in the sea on Christmas Day, the Telegraph reported.
The opposition Liberal Democrats called up the latest available figures from the authorities: Last year, 1,700 times waste water was discharged into the sea on beaches that were actually awarded a blue flag for environmental standards - for a total of 15,000 hours.
Farron of the Liberal Democrats called on the British Conservative Government to take away this power from water companies and levy a tax on company profits. Water supply is privatized in Great Britain.
A spokesman for Britain's Environment Department told the newspaper that water companies that failed to comply would face fines. These funds would in turn be used for environmental improvements. Since 2015, 56 penalties totaling £141 million (around EUR 160 million) have been imposed.