In the run up to the historic Gemini Boat Race between the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, water quality experts from River Action, in partnership with Fulham Reach Boat Club, conducted E.coli tests on the stretch of the Thames used for the race.

Using a World Health Organization verified E.Coli analyser, the tests revealed levels of E.coli up to 10 times higher than what the Environment Agency considers acceptable for designated bathing waters graded poor, the bottom of four categories.  When bathing water is graded ‘poor’ the Government’s advice is against bathing.

President of the Linacre Boat Club, Sydney Rose, said;

“The River Thames is the core of our community and the source of our connection through sport. Linacre Boat Club is proud to support the vision of River Action UK to preserve the health of this cherished historic waterway and the people who gather around it.”

CEO of River Action James Wallace said;

“It is humbling that the women’s first team eights at Linacre College have honoured River Acton, naming their boat after us. It is a privilege to lead a team of committed campaigners drawing attention to the pollution crisis on our rivers caused, in part, by the water companies allowing tens of thousands of hours of sewage to enter our rivers every year. The damage this does to human health, to river health is incalculable.

“Rowers spend so much of their time on rivers, and they know better than most, because many of them are getting sick, the awful state of our waterways.  Too many of the UK’s rivers are contaminated with sewage because the water companies have, since privatisation 30 years ago, failed to upgrade their infrastructure, favouring instead to reward shareholders with multi-billion-pound dividends.

“We have had enough of this corporate greed and putting polluters’ interests before the interests of the environment.  Together with the rowing community, including all the rowers at Linacre College, we are standing up for river health, placing the polluters on notice that we will hold you accountable.  We have the same message for the government which fails to enforce environmental laws that are there to protect rivers.”