The AtlanticThe Atlantic

Why Britain stinks

By Jon Allsop

07 Apr 2023 · 10 min read

Editor's Note

In the U.K., beaches are often closed due to sewage dumping. The practice is blamed on decades of failed policies that have filled water-company executives’ pockets with cash, reports The Atlantic.

Whenever I was in a bad mood as a child, my parents would toss me into the sea. It was the one thing, they said, that snapped me out of a temper. I grew up a 10-minute walk from the ocean in Wembury, a picture-postcard village in the southwest of England—an area popular for surfing, swimming, and rockpooling.

My father still lives in Wembury, and I still love to get in the water when I’m back home (I now live in London). One day in June 2021, however, I learned from a community Facebook page that going for a swim would not be possible. A blackboard had been erected at the beach with a message scrawled across it in white letters: BEACH CLOSED DUE TO POLLUTION INCIDENT.

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