Yorkshire Water has faced backlash online after tweeting about tonight’s Oscars when horrified locals responded with criticism of the company’s record of releasing sewage into rivers, following a documentary on British waters from Paul Whitehouse.
The water company tweeted about the ceremony featuring Yorkshire versions of the Best Picture nominated titles, labeling it ‘Yorkshire Water Oscars 95’.
But social media users responded to the company by sharing videos of sewage-infested rivers that suggested Yorkshire Water should nominate in its awards.
Several users pointed to the River Wharfe, posting images and videos that appear to show sewage being released into the already dirty-looking water.
It follows a new BBC documentary with Paul Whitehouse, Our Troubled Rivers, which examines British waters and criticized the water company this week.
Locals responded to Yorkshire Water’s tweet by sharing video footage that appeared to show sewage being released into the River Wharfe.
In their Oscar tweet, Yorkshire Water said: “We’ve taken this year’s Best Picture nominations and given them our own Yorkshire twist! Which of our nominees would you vote for?’
Titles included Everythin Everywheear orl a ‘Once, Avabrew: The Way of Yorkshire Water, and T’ Banshees of Brighouse.
One social network responded: “If there was an Oscar for Yorkshire Water with two of the three most sewage-polluted rivers in the country, then you would have them,” accompanied by a video showing the liquid being released into a Yorkshire river.
A second said: ‘Yorkshire waters its own Oscar ffs.
“Looks like they forgot to include the MOST ATROWISH UNDERWATER VIDEO – RIVER WHARFE.”
Singer and water safety activist Feargel Sharkey, who has more than 160,000 followers on Twitter, retweeted the videos in support of the comments.
Sharkey, who was the lead singer of The Undertones in the 1970s and 1980s, has been posting regularly about the release of sewage into British waters, which usually occurs during times of heavy rain when overflow areas become fill.
The images showed extremely dirty brown river water, with more water and what appears to be sewage flowing into it.
It then shows underwater images of the debris and various plastics below the surface of the water, which included what appeared to be used sanitary products.
The images showed used sanitary products strewn across the river bottom in places
Sections of the video showed Yorkshire rivers with murky patches floating within.
The images showed completely brown patches of river after the release of sewage.
Other locals joined the criticism. One Twitter user said: “Instead of tweeting about the Oscars, do your job and stop polluting our rivers and seas.”
They added: “I live in Scarborough where we lost our blue flag and there is pollution in the South Bay, don’t talk about your intentions, you haven’t been doing your job for years.”
Yorkshire Water responded: ‘We are investing £180m over the next two years to reduce discharges as we know how frustrating it is for our customers to see and hear about pollution in Yorkshire’s rivers.
“We are committed to playing our part in improving water quality in the region’s rivers and seas and it is important that we work in partnership with other organizations to help make our rivers and seas healthier.”
He later added: ‘Separating the waste and rainwater network is nearly impossible due to cost, disruption and environmental impact.
Yorkshire Water’s stressed emissions are ‘controlled by permits issued by the Environment Agency’
Viewers were less than impressed with the images shared by some of the items littering the river bed.
‘The whole process is controlled by the issuance of permits by the Environment Agency.’
Another social media user said: “Will there be an award for fooling the public?”
A third added: ‘Is there an Oscar for the amount of wastewater your company has dumped into our rivers and seas?’
The criticism follows the release of the BBC’s Our Troubled Rivers, in which fisherman Paul Whitehouse attacks water companies for discharging sewage into British waters.
A statement on the government’s website in reaction to the program stressed that it is taking “significant steps in recent years to hold water companies accountable.”
He added: ‘Downloading has always been permitted by law, subject to a regulated permit system.
‘The way our Victorian sewers are built is that sewage and rainwater are carried in the same pipe. When it reaches a certain height, it is discharged into other pipes and into rivers.
“We believe storm surges are operating too frequently, which is why the government has set strict new targets.”
The 95th Oscars ceremony will take place on Sunday night.