Concerns over sewage and disintegrating bodyboards polluting South Shields beaches

Concerns have been raised over pollution caused by wipes, bodyboards and sewage at coastal spots in South Tyneside.

Wednesday, 27th October 2021, 1:19 pm

It came as South Tyneside Council Place Select Committee received an update on work being done by the LGA Coastal Special Interest Group.

The council is the lead authority for the group, which represents the collective interests of coastal and maritime communities, and Cllr Ernest Gibson, Whiteleas ward representative, is chair.

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Sandhaven Beach in South Shields.

Cllr Gibson told the committee the work is helping put South Tyneside on the map “for the right reasons” and they are continuing to lobby Government on various issues.

He noted one campaign to date has been to help clampdown on polystyrene bodyboards being disposed of on the beach.

Cllr Gibson said: “People are using them, leaving them on the beach, and they’re just disintegrating and these little polystyrene balls are left ending up on the beach.

“That was the campaign to stop that, and it is being listened to by the Government now.”

Councillor Ernest Gibson.

Cllr David Francis, Green Party representative, said he was glad to see this issue being looked at, as it can be “a very cheap way to make the coast a dreadful place”.

He also called for action around the issue of sewage polluting the sea.

Cllr Francis said: “In South Tyneside there are concerns about sewage in the sea as well, bearing in mind we don’t want people swimming in shallow water that’s polluted.

“What, if any steps, can that group [LGA Coastal Special Interest] take to try and challenge that issue, not just in South Tyneside, but along the coast in general?”

Green Party councillor David Francis

Cllr Gibson responded saying it is an issue they will be raising with the Environment Agency, DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and water companies, and they will continue to lobby on it.

He also raised the issue of people disposing of baby wipes incorrectly, adding blockages had been reported in South Shields and Jarrow.

Cllr Gibson said: “It’s a call for people to stop putting baby wipes down the toilet, it’s actually blocking our systems.”

Cllr Angela Hamilton echoed the need to urge people to preferably not use wipes, and if they do, to dispose of them properly.

She said: “It’s not just baby wipes, it’s cleaning wipes and facial wipes that are damaging the environment.”

Cllr Gibson stressed the work is crucial, especially given the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26).

He said: “We want a safe area, we want a clean environment, and we want everybody to live a good life and a healthy life within the borough.”

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