Andy Cummins

Andy Cummins

Campaigns Director
Surfers Against Sewage

The UK’s water quality can be influenced by numerous sources. However, the most prolific are; the sewerage system’s network of more than 30,000 combined sewer overflows that are designed to discharge untreated human sewage and storm water into the environment and then run off from poorly managed and heavily industrialised agriculture land.

These pollutants pose a risk to the millions of water users that use the UK’s coast each year. Even the UK’s Prime Minister, David Cameron, and his family couldn’t escape surfing during a sewage pollution event. During the PM’s surf Surfers Against Sewage’s Safer Seas Service was warning registered users of sewage pollution events.

This talk will address; the impacts on water quality and the threats these impacts pose to water users, the limitations of current UK and European Union water quality legislation and outline how emerging technologies, management systems and legislation can reduce these impacts and offset these threats.

The talk will detail how Surfers Against Sewage‘s real-time water quality public information system, the Safer Seas Service, is keeping water users safe from thousands of pollution events. The Safer Seas Service is also compiling the most comprehensive dataset on pollution events across the UK, allowing Surfers Against Sewage to challenge water companies, the farming industry and regulators on beaches that are abjectly impacted. The talk will summarise the opportunities available to the UK with the current industrial practices and legal framework, mapping out the path to improved water quality including potential barriers.

Whilst this narrative is UK focused, the principles can be applied across the globe.

Watch the talk

About the speaker

Andy has been surfing for more than half his life. Back when he was a grommet he was surfing amongst tampons, condoms and raw sewage, every surf. He immediately joined Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) so they would take his concerns and apply them down the corridors of power.

After surfing around Europe and Australia he completed a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Science and focused on the human impacts on the marine environment. As a surfer he felt he had a good understanding of what we are doing to our seas, but this was an eye opener for him.

I’ve always lived by the sea and it’s always had a hold over me.

After University he sailed from Falmouth, down the west coast of Europe, and to the Cape Verdes before crossing the Atlantic. Even 1,000 miles from land he would be constantly confronted with mans impacts on the marine environment. All these experiences have helped inspire and motivate him as a campaigner at SAS. He started as a Campaign Assistant in 2004 and since then has worked on all SAS’s campaigns and enjoyed many successes.

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