Bristol’s Pollution Incident Causes Sickness in People and Animals


After a massive diesel pollution incident, the River Avon in Bristol ended up ‘stinking and lifeless’. Because of this, an investigation is initiated and it is currently in progress.

According to the Environment Agency, they are considering to take legal action against the company responsible for the pollution incident. The company was exposed after the authorities traced the pollution’s source up a tributary stream.

As stated by the residents near the river between Hanham and Keynsham, they suffered headaches and nausea after the waters on the river were suddenly covered in diesel fuel last Tuesday evening.

Fortunately, the river has recovered. However, it took days before it was able to get back its previous state, with high tides washing the fuel back and forth.

Beatrice FitzGerald, a boat resident, said her family, as well as her neighbours, were shocked by the level of pollution in the area and how it affected the residents nearby.

She said, “I noticed it first at around 6pm on Tuesday, and it was pretty immediate.”

“It absolutely stunk out the whole river, our boat, inside and outside.

“I saw on the river this cover of diesel. It wasn’t even a rainbow sheen, it was thick – the river looked like a river of oil, it was that bad,” she continued.

Beatrice, living near the river at Hanham Mills, reported that the pollution affected the residents’ health including her.

“We all had headaches and felt sick. We raised the alarm,” she added.

The Environment Agency, the Bristol Harbourmaster, and the Canal and Rivers Trust came the following day to investigate, and the pollution’s effect on wildlife was evident.

“The next day it was noticeable that there were no ducks, in fact, nothing. The river here is normally quite busy and noisy with wildlife, but it was so quiet, no birds. I saw a dead fish floating past, and others saw dead fish too,” said Beatrice. “It all went silent.”

After a few days, the residents said the Environment Agency officials had finally located the source of the diesel fuel leak. The source is not far upstream from the Ferry Road but is, in fact, from a tributary brook located in the south of the main River Avon.