Surfers Against Sewage

At the SAS HQ we're cracking open the energy drinks to celebrate a major campaign victory as the States of Guernsey finally committed to full sewage treatment. This is great news for Guernsey's recreational water users, bathers, water related businesses and the reputation of Guernsey.

We've have been campaigning on Guernsey for full sewage treatment since September 2004. During that period we have delivered nearly 20 SAS actions calling for full sewage treatment each with our unique mix of hard hitting campaigns and humour, while an estimated 6,574,500,000 gallons of wastewater and raw sewage has been dumped untreated into the sea off Guernsey.

Victory was almost in reach when the States of Guernsey's Public Service Department proposed a wastewater charge. The team at SAS supported this charge but called for commitment to full sewage treatment, a realistic timescale to deliver the sewage treatment and assurances that the wastewater charge would help fund full sewage treatment.

All SAS's stipulations were incorporated by deputy David De Lisle in his amendment.

Yesterday, the De Lisle amendment was strongly supported and the final hurdle was cleared. A future with full sewage treatment will give recreational water users on Guernsey dramatically improved protection. It will support water related businesses and help enhance the image of Guernsey with an improved coastal environment for all to enjoy.

This campaign victory came on the back of 4 and a half years committed campaigning and 18 actions calling for full sewage treatment for Guernsey. Actions included packed public meetings with standing room only and superbly supported SAS petitions in 2004. Dr Loo landed on Guernsey to warn of a reduction in water quality in November 2005 and a 60 hour vigil on the steps of the State's HQ in January 2006.

2007 saw port protests and surfing zombies lobbying the States and in 2008 SAS made full sewage treatment an election issue and towed the SAS 15ft inflatable turd with the slogan "VOTE FULL SEWAGE TREATMENT" around the island.

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Surfrider Foundation staff

This past weekend, the Surfrider Foundation celebrated their 2008 Wavemaker Award recipients. The Surfrider Foundation’s Board of Directors and Staff give out the award annually to individuals and companies for their outstanding volunteer performance and support to help the organization fulfill its mission.

Outstanding Contribution/Bob Mignogna – A legend in the publishing world, Bob Mignona tapped into his extensive Rolodex to assist the Surfrider Foundation in its fight to protect San Onofre State Park and Trestles.

Bob’s efforts were instrumental in rallying activists, sharing information and generating support, and his keen insights have proven invaluable in galvanizing the local community around this important fight.

Development Award/Harriet Zaretsky and Steve Henry – Harriet and Steve created the Dillon Henry Memorial Internship Fund - Surfrider’s first endowed fund - in memory of their son Dillon. The fund provides, in perpetuity, monetary support to help students pursue a career in coastal marine conservation.

The funds from this endowment provide annual stipends for two qualified interns to work with the Surfrider Foundation’s Environmental and/or Legal Departments. Thanks to these funds, the Surfrider Foundation can attract, hire and train the most committed interns.

Distinguished Service/Glenn Suba – A founding member of Surfrider Brasil, Glenn has given 100% to the Surfrider Foundation throughout the years. As a volunteer, environmental consultant, and “greening” expert, Glenn is constantly thinking of opportunities for Surfrider Foundation participation. Always on the front line of activism, his creative thinking motivates others to continue fighting for the protection of our coastlines.

Chapter Leadership/Scott Werny – Scott has been a Surfrider Foundation Chapter Activist for over 10 years, and his dedication has been a constant for our Hawaiian Chapter Network. Over the years, Scott has played a key leadership role in the Oahu Chapter, helping to create and implement a vision.

In addition to establishing the credibility needed for an environmental organization to be effective, Scott has worked endlessly to establish a beach access coalition throughout the Hawaiian Islands.

As a result of his hard work and efforts, the “Shoreline Access Coalition of Hawaii” includes B.E.A.C.H., Beach Access Hawaii, Free Ocean Project Kahea, Keep the North Shore Country, Livable Hawaii Kai Hui, Maui Tomorrow Foundation, Save Kahului Harbor, Sierra Club Oahu Group, Surfrider Foundation Kauai Chapter, Surfrider Foundation Oahu Chapter, Surfrider Foundation Maui Chapter, and Windward Ahupua'a Alliance.

Corporate Partner Award/Barefoot Wine – Jeremy Soine - Barefoot Wine’s relationship with the Surfrider Foundation dates back over 20 years, to original partners Michael Houlahan and Bonnie Harvey, who were early supporters and activists.

For the last three years, the Surfrider Foundation has partnered with Barefoot Wine in presenting their Barefoot Wine Beach Rescue Project. This unique event has worked with over a dozen Surfrider Foundation chapters across the country to keep our beaches “barefoot friendly” and help draw attention and support to such campaigns as Lake Worth, Save Pupukea, Montauk and the Save Trestles campaign.

Special Recognition Awards/ L.P.A. & J.J.S., Inc. – L.P.A. & J.J.S., Inc. are responsible for the green architecture of our new LEED Certified office space. In addition to their design work, L.P.A. generously guided the Surfrider Foundation through the LEED certification process.

Beyond the construction of our new offices, J.J.S. worked tirelessly to help fundraise for the office build-out, donated items from their own office and went the extra mile to make sure the build-out process was a success.

Special Recognition Awards/ Surfing Magazine, Surfer Magazine, Transworld Surf, Surfline – These endemic partners generously supported the Surfrider Foundation’s Save Trestles campaign not once, but twice, this year (February and September) with copious editorial coverage.

They also donated online advertising space in an effort to bolster attendance at the hearings. With their help, the Surfrider Foundation and its Save Trestles coalition partners were able to drive record attendance to both hearings.

Special Recognition Award/Vans – The original “action sport” company, Vans has been one of the Surfrider Foundation’s most steadfast supporters over the years. Within the last four years alone, Vans has donated nearly $50,000 to the Surfrider Foundation from the production of unique co-branded footwear.

In 2008, Vans went a step further with the production of their new Mesa shoe and sandal, which are constructed almost entirely of recycled and sustainable materials. Vans has also been a vocal supporter of the Save Trestles campaign, bringing busloads of employees and supporters to both hearings.

Surfers Against Sewage

New regulations that prevent sewage pollution from ships came into force yesterday in the UK.

The regulations will help the UK control a shipping industry, which the Government believes could be responsible for 5% of all coastal sewage pollution incidents.

This is welcome news to the campaigners at Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) who have been concerned by the length of time it has taken for international agreements made by MARPOL on ‘prevention of pollution by sewage from ships’ to be transposed into UK law.

The new law targets ships that are over 400 gross tonnes (GT) in weight or those less than 400GT that are certified to carry more than 15 people. It only applies to those UK flagged ships that leave the UK on international voyages but will also apply to similar ships, which are not UK flagged, if they are in UK waters.

One industry where there will have to be wholescale changes is the cruise ships industry. For too long cruise ships were able to travel the oceans with plumes of raw sewage in their brown wake but the new legislation will help prevent this in the future.

Raw sewage from cruise ships is similar to standard sewage from the land. It contains bacteria and viruses hazardous to humans, can reduce the oxygen levels in the water, can cloud water preventing light reaching the sea bed (essential for most coral growth) and can introduce harmful levels of nutrients to the environment which could lead to potentially toxic algal blooms.

A typical cruise ship today carries around 2,000 passengers, 900 crew and producing 25,000 gallons of human waste a day! Cruises have become a lot more affordable and increasing leisure time means they are becoming an annual fixture in the holiday plans of millions of people. Many UK ports are expecting to see an increase in cruise ship visits this year.

Newly built cruise ships will have already fitted on board state-of-the-art sewage treatment plants, so it is now just the older, smaller cruise ships that are upgrading before they will get issued with sewage prevention certificates.

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