Operation Blue Crab gets underway in Leigh-on-Sea

12 August 2019


Serious environmental message behind colourful crustaceans across town


A seaside invasion of blue crabs appeared in Leigh-on-Sea last week as staff from Anglian Water and the Environment Agency painted the colourful crustaceans on the seaside town’s kerbs and drain covers. The crabs have been painted to highlight an important environmental message – be careful what you pour down the drain.


Surface water or ‘rain drains’ are designed to take excess rain water away from roads and pavements and put it directly out to sea. Unfortunately, any waste substances wrongly put down these drains could end up polluting our beautiful beaches.


Rebecca Bromley, Anglian Water’s Coastal Catchment Manager, said: “We have painted the blue crabs near the rain drains so that they act as a visual reminder of the fact that what goes down these drains is going straight to the beach and sea.


“By raising awareness of the problems caused by disposing waste down surface water drains – that are only meant for rainwater – we can help protect our stunning seaside by getting people to do their bit for the coastal environment. What goes down these drains today could end up on the beach or in the sea tomorrow, and that’s why this message is so important for our coastal areas.”


Anglian Water’s Coastal Protection Team work all year round to pinpoint pollution to prevent potential impacts on the region’s beaches and bathing waters. The company’s Beachcare initiative, run in conjunction with Keep Britain Tidy, is just another example of its commitment to fighting pollution, by supporting volunteers to keep the region’s beaches litter-free.


“We’d also like to thank Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and the Environment Agency for supporting us with this campaign. As a popular tourist destination, and vital for the local economy, it’s really important to ensure the region’s beaches and bathing waters are kept in tip top shape,” Rebecca continued.


Anna Burns, Area Environment Manager from the Environment Agency supported the work, saying: “We’re delighted to join our partners to support this important local campaign. We hope that this will complement on-going work to fix misconnections from properties and check drainage from businesses, and contribute to an improvement in water quality.”


Cllr Carole Mulroney, Southend-on-Sea Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning, said: “We have been reassured by month-on-month improvements in water quality at Leigh Bell Wharf, but the real test will be whether we can sustain these improvements during the busy summer holiday period.


“We all have a role to play in improving water quality and an important aspect of this is not pouring anything down the rainwater drains, as these flow directly into the sea.”


If you wish to report any misuse of rainwater drains in your area that you come across, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on 03457 145 145, citing the location and time of your findings.



For images of the Blue Crab installation, please click here.