‘A nationwide shame’: Oxford rail at River Thames air pollution forward of Boat Race

‘A nationwide shame’: Oxford rail at River Thames air pollution forward of Boat Race

The College of Oxford’s rowing coach has known as the air pollution within the River Thames a “nationwide shame” after excessive ranges of E coli had been discovered on the Boat Race course.

Sean Bowden, who has coached Oxford since 1997, additionally admitted that the well being dangers might additionally cease the custom of the successful cox being thrown or leaping into the river.

Because the Guardian first reported on Tuesday, organisers have issued new security steerage this yr, together with a warning to rowers to not enter the water and to cowl any open wounds.

The unprecedented motion got here after ranges of E coli had been discovered to be almost 10 instances larger than ranges present in bathing waters graded as “poor” by Surroundings Company requirements – the worst doable ranking.

“It’s a nationwide shame isn’t it?” mentioned Bowden. “It’s very regarding. And it might be terrific if the Boat Race drew consideration to it. We’re very eager to play an element and we recognise we have now a job and a accountability to it.

“Infrequently somebody will decide up a abdomen bug, however they have a tendency to bounce again inside 24 or 48 hours. So that is one thing that’s actually necessary. We clearly don’t need individuals to get in poor health. We speak about each time we come to the Tideway about good hygiene and mitigation methods.”

Nonetheless when Bowden was requested whether or not the Oxford cox would possibly bounce or be thrown into the river on Saturday, he was noncommittal. “I don’t know,” he mentioned. “That could be a dialogue we may have. The coxes have the appropriate to decide on whether or not they wish to be thrown in or not. We’ll cope with that one in good time.

“Individuals do swim and do loads of water sports activities within the river. However throwing the cox within the water for about 10 seconds carries some very small danger, I suppose.”

Nonetheless, the previous GB rower Harry Glenister, who will compete for Oxford this yr, indicated the staff had been erring towards custom. “If there’s a well being and security drawback I don’t suppose we’ll be throwing him in as a result of we don’t wish to danger that,” he mentioned.

“It’s simply an excessive amount of of a danger. We help regardless of the Boat Race is saying in regards to the circumstances within the water. We simply hope we’ll win after which we’ll resolve.”

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The expectation is that London’s new £5bn tremendous sewer will alleviate a lot of the issues when it opens subsequent yr. Bowden mentioned {that a} debate wanted available nationally and he was “actually glad the papers had been pursuing the water firms”.

“Surfers In opposition to Sewage and all these actually nice individuals had been making an attempt to deliver this to our consideration years in the past,” he mentioned. “The period of time it has taken to get traction is a fear.”

In an announcement, Thames Water blamed the issue on current excessive ranges of rainfall and mentioned it was working arduous to cut back discharges of sewage into the river. “We’re working arduous to make these discharges pointless and have revealed plans to improve over 250 of our websites.”

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