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For those who regularly use the UK’s lakes, rivers and coastal waters, the environmental costs of inaction for the continuous pumping of raw sewage are obvious.
Even those who don’t get the chance to enjoy the country’s waterways can see the depressing state of too many rivers and oceans with a quick glance at social media.
That’s why I and its sister title new scientist launched a joint campaign aimed at forcing meaningful change to clean up degraded water networks.
But Rishi Sunak must warn that water companies’ abuse of the country’s rivers also comes with very real political costs.
In many parts of the country, especially in the south and southeast, the government’s apparent lack of urgency to address river pollution already threatens to affect ballot boxes.
In several home county seats and constituencies along the south coast, the issue of raw sewage in rivers and seas has become a key political battlefield, with Liberal Democrats traditionally Tory voters turning their backs on the Conservatives. I believe more and more that there is potential to turn. seat.
According to Liberal Democrat activists, this is the biggest political issue after the NHS.
This is an area Sunak cannot afford to ignore. The Conservative Party continues to lag in the polls and the prime minister already faces a mountain of challenges to turn his party’s fortunes around. Giving voters in the Conservative heartland more reason to look to another party to address the problem of river pollution seems misguided.