Cocaine and E-coli 760 times acceptable levels detected in seawater

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Surprising traces of cocaine, E.coli and harmful chemicals have been found in Hampshire waters.

Sea pollution activists Final Straw Foundation made the discovery after teaming up with researchers from Brunel University and Portsmouth University to study the water quality in In Langstone and Chichester harbours.

They tested pre-storm and post-storm water samples and came across strands of recreational drugs including amphetamines, MDMA, cocaine, antidepressants and anti-seizure drugs.

Results had also shown traces of E-coli were in quantities 760 times the acceptable levels established by the Environment Agency.

E. coli bacteria is harmful and can enter the body from eating contaminated food, causing diarrhoea, stomach cramps and occasionally fever.

Founder and CEO of Final Straw Foundation Bianca Carr said: “Dogs have had E. coli poisoning from swimming in the sea and their owners were told they may not be able to make it.

“There was a recent case where someone cut their foot on a foil of a surfboard and suffered from an internal E. coli infection. A young woman in Portsmouth even got Hepatitis A from the water.”

She added: “All of these chemicals that are not being treated are bioaccumulating on top of each other and impacting our ecosystems and potentially people.”

Bianca is from Emsworth and is the founder of Final Straw Foundation

Sewage overflow is the main source of the harmful chemicals found in Hampshire’s waters. Ms Carr stated that these chemicals could come from anything we consume or wash down our toilet.

The sewage is normally used as a fertiliser for their fields, and then gets drained back into the sea.

She said: “The top layer of sewage, they scrape that off a lot of the time and put it on our fields as a fertiliser, however in the fertiliser are microplastics and chemicals that are going into our fields and straight back into our seas.”