The UK is experiencing "poonami" – a sewage crisis. Greenpeace said water companies poured toilet waste into rivers and seas for more than 300,000 hours in 2022. Many people got sick after swimming in the sea. Others complained about the terrible smell on beaches, or the brown colour of the water. A research company conducted a poll about people's opinions on water quality. A quarter of swimmers said they might not swim in the sea because of health risks. Last week, 57 people got diarrhoea in the UK after swimming in the sea at a World Triathlon Championship.
England and Wales are the only countries to have privatized their water services. They sold their water to private companies in 1987. These companies promised to spend billions of pounds to make services better. However, things have become much worse. The companies have not invested enough money. They have not stopped leaks or modernized systems. Since 1991, they have paid over £2 billion a year to their shareholders. A water campaigner said the water companies have failed to create a quality system. He blamed the UK government for not acting.