Worrying piece in the Guardian, suggesting that messages about recent improvements and massive investment are not getting through to the public

Almost a quarter of the UK’s sea swimmers may not take a dip in the ocean this year because of sewage dumping by water companies, according to a poll.

Sewage was dumped into waters near England’s most celebrated beaches for nearly 8,500 hours last year, analysis shows. A separate review earlier this year found there were 1,504 discharges in 2022 on beaches supposed to be free from such pollution.

Water companies have been under increasing pressure to clean up their act amid growing outrage over payouts of more than £2bn a year on average since 1991.

The poll, carried out by Savanta for the Liberal Democrats, spoke to 2,272 UK adults between 21 and 23 July. Just over 30% said they typically went sea swimming during the summer, and of these 23% said they would not this year because of sewage dumping by water companies.

More than two in five of the regular beachgoers also said they were less likely to visit the British seaside this summer because of sewage discharges.

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