This is the last year as a teenager for Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) as next year is our 20th anniversary. Our 19th year was one of our busiest and most successful years campaigning.
2009 started with yet another shipping accident, this time our beaches were covered in timber. Let’s hope we escape a serious shipping catastrophe in 2010.
January and February brought a couple of campaign victories. Firstly new regulations came into force to prevent sewage discharge from ships.
And after more than 20 campaign actions in Guernsey, the island finally committed to full sewage treatment! Great news for Guernsey as currently 65,000 people’s raw sewage is being dumped in the sea daily.
February ended with the launch of a new SAS campaign as we asked you, do you “Love Your Beach?” This campaign will designate recreational waters as bathing waters and help improve their facilities and environmental standards. This is a live campaign so if you have a beach that is well loved, please sign it up.
As Spring approached and the beach became popular again we had our Spring Beach Clean at Porthtowan, over 80 people attended and really made a difference to the beach.
And at the other end of the country we launched our Marine Litter Petition at the O’Neill Highland Open at Thurso, calling on Gordon Brown to implement a National Marine Litter Strategy. Sign up here!
And as spring turned to summer SAS celebrated another campaign victory with the British Plastic Federation finally releasing the Operation Clean Sweep document to help prevent the escape of mermaid’s tears from plastic factories and keep them off our beaches.
SAS launched another new campaign, the Protect Our Waves campaign (POW). SAS have been protecting UK waves for 19 years now, but this dedicated campaign will allow us more time, money and energy to be focused on protecting waves. The POW campaign was launched with a document providing guidance for offshore renewable developers on what’s important to surfers and why. This will ensure surfing has a voice as the seas are used to harness clean, sustainable energy. Dowload the PDF here.
The first POW action was the biggest SAS action ever, with over 350 people paddling out to protect a wave on the south coast. The wave falls on the outer edge of an MoD firing range and we believe there are alternatives that could allow the MoD to have full use of their range and surfers full access to the wave.
On the back of this action SAS sent 1,000 campaign postcards to the Secretary of State for Defence calling for a meeting. These postcards were signed by our supporters and the last 10 were signed by Kelly Slater, Gabe Davies, Rabbit Bartholomew, Jody Smith, Jeremy Flores, Jeff Hakman, Talyor Knoxs, Alan Stokes, Luke Egan, and Roy Powers. These are some of the best surfers in the world including past, present and future world champions and the best UK surfers.
In the summer we rolled out another SAS beach cleaning tour supported by Barefoot. This year we smashed all records and collected over 2 tons of beach litter in 6 days with the help of more than 600 people!
As the summer ended in Scotland we called on Scottish Water to keep sewage treatment on to protect Scottish surfers. After a few actions in Scotland we are due to sit down with Scottish Water and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency early 2010.
And then the highlight of 2009 for SAS, the Panorama programme that we helped put together, starred in and exposed raw sewage discharging into our rivers and seas all over the UK. Panorama highlighted the extent of the problem and got people talking about the issue again. And the fall out continues with political support for improvements. Thanks BBC!
And we finished the year by getting Surfing Reserves tabled in the Scottish Marine Bill. If Surfing Reserves are supported in Stage 3 of the Bill, Scotland would be the only country outside Australia to have specific legislation to protect surf spots and the sport of surfing.
These are just the highlights for 2009 and more information can be found on the website. 2009 has been fantastic, and we have to thank our members for the continued support. It’s only with your backing that SAS continues to be a force to be reckoned with. In 2010 you will find SAS outside the doors of the polluters, highlighting their crimes and inside the doors of power ensuring your concerns (our concerns) are heard at the highest level.