You may remember the environmental travesty last year on Teignmouth beach: thick, black sludge covered the whole of front beach for days and days. This unsightly and more than likely toxic debris arrived as a result of the Marine Management Organisation granting a licence for dredging silt from Exmouth Marina and dumping it at Sprey Point. Why? Because the basin where yachts are moored was filling up with silt and drying the boats out at low tide. Boo hoo.
Dredging was suspended after hoards of complaints and concerns to the environmental agencies. But now, planning to do the same again this year has begun, with the caveat of dumping less tonnage than previously and only being done over the winter months.
This is still disastrous for Teignmouth.
Even though scientists say that the waste is safe for disposal at sea, there are still huge concerns about water quality. Think about the waste that would go into a marina in concentration: yacht toilet chemicals, oil and petrol. Suspended sediment will undoubtedly cause changes in the flora and fauna of our sea. The water quality in Teignmouth is deemed ‘excellent’ and we want to keep it that way. I, like many others swim in the sea all year round, the Surf Life Rescue club practice close to the dumping area. Thinking of all those children swimming in the waste makes me shudder.
Visually, the beach covered in black silt doesn’t look inviting. The powers that be seem to think it’s OK to dump it out of season, as if Teignmouth goes into hibernation for the winter. Our town continues to thrive in the colder months, with locals and tourists. If tourists stop coming to our town because the beach looks disgusting there would be dire consequences for small business trade.
Exmouth are solving their problem by dumping it on Teignmouth. If we don’t stop this now we will be the dumping ground of the South West forever more. Cllr Robert Phillips appeared on BBC Spotlight this morning and suggested that a flotilla of residents go out and block the dredger, à la Greenpeace. I love it!
I for one will be there on the water, attempting to protect our town, our sea, our environment. I urge everyone to do the same..
Watch this space for details.