Countries are legally obliged to treat sewage before it is released into waterways. Discharges of untreated human waste are permitted only in exceptional circumstances.
New figures show the scale of untreated human effluent discharged in England into rivers and seas increased from 292,864 incidents in 2019 to 403,171 in 2020 – a 37% rise.
Hugo Tagholm, of Surfers Against Sewage, said: “Water companies making rampant profits at the expense the health of our rivers, ocean and people has to stop."
The Rivers Trust's deputy technical director, Michelle Walker, said: "The 2020 data indicates that, appallingly, almost one in five overflows across England are discharging more than 60 times per year, a number which is supposed to trigger an EA investigation. This is a staggering statistic.”