SOS Jersey has consistently followed developments relating to the disposal of the Island’s toxic waste at La Collette, and independently tested the rising levels of heavy metals accumulating in shellfish, as a result of leakage from the older toxic ash pits.
It has also monitored nitrogen being discharged into St Aubin’s Bay from the Sewage Treatment Works (STW), and now also has up-to-date official figures for both STW and First Tower outfall releases. Of the 850 samples, taken between 2009 and 2023, and tested by the States Analyst for nitrogen content, not one falls within the legal discharge permit level of 10mg per litre.
SOSJ has produced a presentation entitled ‘Pollutants and Contaminants and their impact on Jersey’s Population and Environment’, compiled by SOSJ analyst, Benita Brett. It concisely documents many environmental failures, and contains indisputable evidence gathered over many years.
Jersey is faced with an ongoing and complex environmental threat to the health of its marine ecosystem, in conjunction with a threat to Islanders’ health from a number of sources such as PFAS in our mains water supply, excess nitrates being released into St Aubin’s Bay, and heavy metals, such as zinc and lead, accumulating in shellfish in the Ramsar area.
SOSJ has also monitored the unsafe excavation and disposal of asbestos-contaminated material from several Waterfront sites, and on one occasion, documented unsafe practices potentially damaging the health of pedestrians (including babies) who were exposed to it.
It is plain that environmental regulation has failed. Relevant ministers have not always been properly advised, ultimately causing Islanders’ quality of life and our marine environment to be degraded by the lack of political and departmental foresight. To ensure the health and wellbeing of Islanders should surely be the priority?
SOSJ’s call for the creation of a completely independent environmental regulator was recently approved by a large majority of the membership of the Ramsar Management Authority (RMA), whose members are the users of Jersey’s south-east coast beaches and inshore waters – in short, the many Islanders who rely on its health for their livelihoods or recreation. This necessary and sensible safeguarding step was resisted by environment officers, who advised the Environment Minister to reject the democratic vote taken by the RMA.
SOSJ’s current report clearly demonstrates the urgent need for such independent environmental regulation.