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Britain's Raw Sewage Dumping Scandal Leaves Fish 'Full Of Cocaine'

The dumping of raw sewage into British waterways has left fish being “full of cocaine”, a marine expert has said.

Professor Alex Ford, a marine biologist at Portsmouth University, told Good Morning Britain that the waters he analysed off the Hampshire coast contained drugs, contraceptive pills and antidepressants.

It comes as new figures fuelled more public anger over untreated sewage being discharged into the sea and rivers when the Victorian-era infrastructure cannot cope with heavy rain.

According to the Environment Agency, the number of sewage spills in England’s rivers and seas more than doubled in a year: there were 3.6 million hours of spills in 2023, compared to 1.75 million in 2022.

Ford told the broadcaster from Langstone Harbour, Hampshire: “The sewage treatment plant behind us takes in the waste of half a million people and when it can’t cope with it, it chucks it straight out here.

“In the marine life just beneath our feet, we’re actually finding they’re full of drugs. They’re full of the contraceptive pills, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medication. Every single marine species that we’ve looked at so far is full of cocaine.”

GMB presenter Susanna Reid couldn’t quite believe what she was hearing, and asked the reporter to clarify: “Every marine species is full of cocaine, did he say?”

Water companies are permitted to discharge untreated sewage into waterways in exceptional circumstances, such as during the heavy rainfall seen this week.

The overflow systems are used to protect homes and businesses from flooding, and the water companies say only a small percentage of the discharge is wastewater.

Water UK, the industry body for sewerage companies, blamed heavy rainfall for the rising problem, but campaigners and opposition parties accused the Tory government of failing to get to grips with the problem.

On social media, the reaction was as you would expect ...

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