Water companies have dumped raw sewage into the sea in more than 50 coastal areas across England and Wales following a period of heavy rainfall.
Data from Surfers Against Sewage shows multiple coastal resorts, largely on the south coast, where sewage has been discharged and swimmers have been warned against getting in the water.
Southern Water, one of the water companies responsible, said that the discharges were made to protect homes and businesses, and argued that the releases were 95-97 per cent rainwater.
In a statement, a spokesperson said: “There were thunderstorms accompanied by heavy rain the night before last and yesterday [Tuesday]. Storm releases were made to protect homes, schools and businesses from flooding. The release is 95-97% rainwater and so should not be described as raw sewage.
“We know customers do not like that the industry has to rely on these [discharges] to protect them, and we are pioneering a new approach.”
On Tuesday, a viral Tweet showed brown sewage water flowing into the sea on the Sussex Coast in a marine protected area, sparking outrage online.