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Plaque unveiled in Cardiff park protesting against the dumping of sewage into Welsh rivers

12 Mar 2023 3 minute read
Protesters in Cardiff’s Hailey Park.

Local residents protesting against the dumping of sewage into the river Taff have placed a blue plaque at Hailey Park in Cardiff to highlight the state of rivers in Wales.

Members of Extinction Rebellion joined members of the local community to unveil the blue plaque at Hailey Park Combined Sewerage Overflow (CSO) as part of a day of action across the UK.

The plaque highlights the failure to tighten environmental regulations and clamp down on the profits made by water companies and reads: “Dirty Welsh Water 14,787 house discharges 2021.

“Alun Cairns MP, Jamie Wallis MP voted to block a law to reduce sewage dumped in our rivers. 20th October 2021.”

Ian Vincent, who lives near the park said: “Welsh Water purposefully discharge raw sewage into our beautiful streams, rivers, estuaries and the sea for thousands of hours every month.

“Incredibly this is with the agreement of Welsh Government and NRW.”

Sanitary towels

Rebecca who also lives locally said “It’s become a safety issue. Sadly, my daily walk along the riverside paths of the park and to the Hailey Park beaches are no more.

“It can make dogs ill if they go in sewage polluted water and I also don’t want them picking up sanitary towels and nappies so we have to keep away from the river.

“I and other dog walkers used to stick to the riverside because bicycles travel so fast on paths the other side but now I’m forced to dodge the bikes or go further afield to keep safe.”

Protesters in Cardiff’s Hailey Park.

Pip Beattie, spokesperson for Cardiff Extinction Rebellion says: “We’ve watched in horror as our rivers and seas have become open sewers since October 2021, when the (UK) government voted down a proposal to stop water companies pumping waste directly into our rivers.

“They justified this by claiming that the proposal was too expensive and yet in 2021 Welsh Water bosses took home £931,000 in performance based bonuses.

“These plaques shine a light on the government’s failure to protect our waterways, the natural world, and all of us.”

Price rise

Dŵr Cymru also came under attack last month after announcing a £14 rise in water bills for the next 12 months.

The increase means that the average bills for the ‘not-for-profit’ will reach £499 a year – the second highest in Wales and England.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats described the price hike as insulting, as the company  markets itself as a non-profit, while continuing to pay out large bonuses to executives and failing to address the sewage dumping crisis.

It has been reported that between 2020-2021, raw sewage was dumped into Welsh rivers 100,000 times.

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