Letters, Friday, August 3rd, 2012

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Tackling problem of polluted water

THE bad news about losing the Blue Flag recently awarded to Roker is very disappointing but not entirely unexpected. Beach watchers have warned the Sunderland City Council’s environmental department and Northumbrian Water that the method of dealing with and treating polluted water before it is discharged into the receiving waters is flawed.

Photographs of untreated sewage being pumped into the river at St Peter’s outfall have been sent to the Adjudicator’s Office in Brussels about the overuse of CSOs, particularly those entering river courses. Despite local and national concern, little has been done by the water providers and even less by local authorities who act merely as bystanders, without any admissible responsibility for the health of people “dipping” in the sea.

The recent samples taken at Roker were way above the permissible levels. The problem seems to be that the “collecting system” was overloaded, even before the heavy rainfall, and subsequently the “excessive” amount of waste water was discharged untreated probably via the St Peter’s CSO into the river, together with the Whitburn outfall spewing into the sea at Whitburn.

CSOs are an essential part of the “combined systems” through which there is a single collecting system that collects both domestic and industrial waste water as well as run-off rainwater. The problem is when the volume of waste water overflows the system’s capacity to store prior to being treatment. One can ask why the collecting system that lies under Seaburn promenade was allowed to become overloaded. The underlying reason is that the Hendon sewage plant does not have the capacity to treat all the sewage being generated by the city, so a back-up occurs and sewage is pumped to receiving waters to relive the situation.

Water authorities are allowed to discharge a maximum of 20 times per year. Discharges from Whitburn, according to the European Commission, were way above that number. The overuse of CSOs is regarded with great concern by the European Court of Justice, hence them taking the UK government to court. Contrary to information given through the report of the European Commission, many seem to have misinterpreted that the matter has been concluded. However, according to the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, the report of the Advocate General has to be endorsed and a decision is expected in October. The jury, as they say, is out.

Coun George Howe,

Fulwell Ward

Get rid of Royals

IN reply to Arthur E. Steel’s pathetic defence of the Royals, I wonder how the United States have managed to cope without the Royals opening this and that all over the States for 237 years after booting royalty rule out of their country.

As for 86 and 91-year-olds still working (“working”?), is it not because their son and heir is incompetent?

I remember when the Queen was visiting West Germany and boasted about having German blood in her veins. This rightly upset many war veterans. Of course, the Royals during the First World War had to change their name from Saxe Coburg Gotha to Windsor, and Battenberg to Mountbatten, to placate the general public’s outcry.

The First World War was started by a Royal being killed by someone who did not want these unelected people to rule his country. The reparations from this War led to the Second World War. Most countries got shot of their royals after this – it’s a pity we did not follow suit.

Michael Dodds, Westfield Grove, Sunderland

Faulty meters

WHAT a fantastic scheme the city council has for increasing the revenue: faulty parking meters.

As the public insert their cash and realise they aren’t getting their money’s worth (or any change given), they look around to ask a parking officer for advice. They are nowhere to be seen. So off goes said member of public to go about their business as fast as they can, hoping they don’t end up with a parking ticket.

But alas, returning to their vehicle it’s too late. Ticket on windscreen. But hey, that’s even more revenue for the council.

So hats off to the council once again. Good work, fellas!

Don Simpson, Stratford Avenue, Sunderland

Real talent

SO Mick the Pen rides to the rescue of Susan Boyle and a couple of soap stars. Championing mediocrity and banality – how unlike Mick.

What next? Praising Robbie and Kylie, two more famous karaoke singers. Kylie might sound like a screaming banshee but at least she’s easy on the eye.

The same goes for those soap stars – Big Hev certainly ain’t no Judy Dench. So instead of praising mediocrity and manufactured pop stars, let’s get behind the real talent, eg Bruce Springsteen, Weller, Dylan and many more.

Ged Taylor, Sunderland

Special thanks

MAY I on behalf of the East Durham Support Group of Ataxia UK, say a massive thank-you to everyone who bought straws or raffle tickets from our stall at Seaham Carnival.

With your help, we managed to raise over £520 on a day that was affected by poor weather.

A special thank-you goes to all those businesses who donated prizes, especially our friends at Dalton Park.

Ataxia UK is a national charity that helps children and adults affected by Ataxia. In addition they fund valuable research into finding a cure.

Cerebellar ataxia is an umbrella term for disorders of the nervous system which cause unsteadiness and a lack of co-ordination. Its name comes from the word cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls balance and co-ordination.

The symptoms of CA include poor co-ordination of the arms and legs. As the disorder progresses, walking may become difficult or even impossible, so that those affected may need a wheelchair. It is important to note that there is a very large variation in the severity of the symptoms.

Most of the cerebellar ataxias are progressive, so will get worse with time. The speed at which the ataxia progresses varies between different types of ataxias and between individuals, but is normally very slow, and changes take place over many years.

If you or someone you know has CA then a support group is there to help. Ataxia UK is a registered national charity. More information can be found on their website www.ataxia.org.uk or telephone their helpline on 0845 644 0606.

Many thanks.

Phil Whitwell,Seaham

Charity night

MAY we mention a charity night we are holding on September, 7 in The Royal Navy Club, Roker Avenue, at 7pm. It is in memory of our dear mam who died recently and we would like to raise as much money as possible for Marie Curie who did a wonderful job looking after her.

There will be bingo, raffles and entertainment, and tickets are available for £1.50 behind the bar or from Pat on the night.

George Taylor and Anne Thompson, Gladstone Avenue, Roker

Forget envy

GREED is described in the dictionary as “intense or excessive desire”, and everyone bar the occasional “saint” is afflicted.

We are born with a plaintive cry in order we are fed before all others. We all know what young cuckoos get up to in the nest, all in their own interests. There are many types of greed, from food and drink to want of public admiration and possession of worldly goods. It’s how the world goes around. These “horrendous” banker chaps very often have working class parents, so position in life is irrelevant.

I well remember going to a meeting with about one hundred others. Speeches preceded the free buffet laid out in the next room, and as the chairman officially closed the meeting I was physically knocked off my chair with the dive for the goodies. Inevitably, as I watched the guests return with loaded plates the suspicion grew that there would be none left for me. There wasn’t! I suppose that’s why they acted like they did, afraid they would be foodless too. I felt ashamed of my fellow men and women.

Read the Echo every night and study the columns of court cases and tricks played by one person on another.

Avarice lingers in us all, that’s how we are made. Some people can turn away from it, but not many. Readers, please accept it, forget envy, and spend your lives productively and happily, regardless of others position and worldly goods, and don’t waste your so precious time dwelling on it. The best years of my life were when I was young – my family had nothing, literally, but happiness.

Allan Wilkinson

Games’ legacy?

I WRITE this just as Team GB has secured their first gold medal at the Olympics. For many glued to the action it’s a welcome relief after all the close calls, impressive starts only to fail in the latter stages in typical British fashion.

The finale of the opening ceremony has to be celebrated as a spectacular triumph. My only real concern for these games was how the opening ceremony would showcase us as a nation to the rest of the watching world. Fortunately, there wasn’t the focus on “modern Britain” or “ethnic London” as the dire logo for 2012 clearly takes its inspiration from.

All in all, many behind the scenes for these Games are most concerned as to the lasting legacy of London 2012. I don’t really expect the couch potatoes to become more active overnight. In fact I think more could have been done in the lead-up to the Olympics to encourage a few more people to become active in sports. But in our current, ailing society where huge rewards are given to those few for the least possible effort, seemingly, the greatest legacy could be to reward those with genuine talent truly deserving of our esteem.

Hopefully that would grow across all fields of endeavour in order to rebuild a sustainable future instead of today’s shaky notion of fame for the sake of it.

G. Engel, High Barnes, Sunderland