Powerful words to Southern Water from 12-year-old Ruthie

Last week, we ran one of our workshops during the junior week at Emsworth Sailing Club. As well as reusing old t-shirts to make fabric shopping bags, running a microplastics mini-workshop and talking about all the little steps we can take on a personal level to help the environment and our local harbours and seas, we asked the children to write some persuasive letters. Check out this incredibly powerful letter by 12-year-old Ruthie to Southern Water.

With 34 hours of Combined Sewer Overflow disharges into Chichester Harbour and a whopping 73 hours into Langstone Harbour in July, Ruthie’s letter couldn’t be more timely. Well done Ruthie, you are so eloquent and we are really proud of you.

Dear Southern Water,

For you I guess it’s incredibly simple. Or complex, if you look at it like that. Scheduling Goals, jobs to complete and very little time to consider all the variables and complexities of your work. However, the solution – the easy one – is simple. Do what you’re paid to do, maybe take a few shortcuts on the way. But these shortcuts are the problem.

It’s 4.30 on a Friday afternoon and 100 children are set to swim in the surprisingly warm water in a few hours. Now though, they sit in a well-lit room writing letters to the company that is – by intention or not – poisoning the water they are exposed to. Tons of sewage are being pumped into Chichester Harbour and as the ecosystem perishes, the people feel the effect too.

My Mother can remember a time when no-one got sick after swimming in the water, my Father checks an app telling him if there is raw sewage in the sea. Everyone in the seaside village of Emsworth feels these effects. The ocean means a lot to us. Hundreds of years ago, the sea kept Emsworth’s people alive. Now, it’s reversed we have to play our part. You have to play your part there is still time to change for you, us and the ocean.

Ruthie Gawley (12 years old)

Emsworth Sailing Club

Letter by 12 year old Ruthie Gawley to Southern Water about sewage discharges
Letter by 12 year old Ruthie Gawley to Southern Water about sewage discharges

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