60-HOUR VIGIL BY SAS ENDS IN GUERNSEY
A 60 hour-long vigil by clean and safe water campaigners Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) has finished with an action outside a government session of Parliament.
With the island’s sewage treatment up for debate SAS invited local politicians to a pre Parliament meeting where they were shown an animation that counts up the amount of raw sewage and wastewater discharged into Guernsey’s waters as of 9:30am on the 25th January 2006. The ‘sewage counter’ will continue to run at ‘4 million gallons a day’ until Ministers agree to providing full sewage treatment.
SAS are calling for a full sewage treatment option to be built to bring an end to the ‘Victorian style pumping and dumping’ of untreated sewage into the sea, which many developed countries have now departed from.
The vigil (representing 1 hour for every 1000 of the 60,000 islanders) was run outside the main doors to the island’s government building and served as a constant reminder to politicians in the run up to today’s Parliament session that many islanders want an investment in the sewerage infrastructure to see it fully modernised. This would not only allow recreational water users to use the island’s beaches without fearing for their health but could also bring real benefits to the island’s economy such as increased tourist visits and water reuse options.
The vigil came during a period of public consultation in which the States has asked for the public’s view on the issue. The SAS vigil offered the public an easy opportunity to have their say and we collected hundreds of signatures to add to the petition we shall be presenting to the States later on in the public consultation.
Richard Hardy, SAS Campaign Director says: “This peaceful vigil has added weight to the campaign for full sewage treatment and cannot be ignored by the States. Dumping untreated sewage at sea is completely unacceptable and an embarrassment to an island that otherwise offers so much, not least its wonderful panoramic landscape. SAS will be expecting a heavyweight discussion of the report over the coming weeks, an acknowledgement that this is an issue of serious public concern needing urgent attention following far too many years of procrastination and some political support for a move towards full treatment.
SAS would like to offer their thanks for the wonderful support and generosity they received by local water users and local people. SAS would not like to thank the ‘weather gods for dishing up sub-zero temperatures during some of the coldest weather to hit the island in the past 10 years!”.