ENVIRONMENTAL activists staged a demonstration against river pollution in Christchurch.

Extinction Rebellion supporters dressed in swimming gear and hazmat suits and urged local residents to write to their MPs to gather support for the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill.

The event, which took place on Saturday, coincided with similar action across the south west following a report from the Environment Agency which revealed all of England's rivers failed tests for chemical pollution.

Melissa Carrington from Christchurch said: "Christchurch Harbour is frequently polluted with raw sewage and hazardous chemicals. Children play upstream from here and lots of people use the water for kayaking and paddle boarding, but often it's not safe for us or for wildlife. Why is this allowed to happen?"

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Justine Marley from Bournemouth, said: "The public should know that the government is failing to act on the ecological emergency, is failing to hold water companies to account for their poor performance and has left the Environment Agency disastrously underfunded. Climate change will only make matters worse. We will get more extreme weather and therefore more sewage in our rivers."

And Anita Rose from Parkstone added: "Government must act now to address climate change and actively conserve our waterways by adopting the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill."

Earlier this year, a study revealed that water companies in England discharged raw sewage into rivers on more than 200,000 occasions.