§ Mr. Devlin
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what discharges of toxic waste currently take place into the North sea.
§ Mrs. Virginia Bottomley
Toxic wastes are discharged into the North sea via two main routes: direct discharge by pipe from land-based sources and riverine inputs from direct discharges to rivers. Wastes also enter the North sea from dumping and incineration at sea and general atmospheric deposition. The 1987 quality status report on the North sea confirms that most of the pollution in the North sea comes from rivers.
The combined effect of all United Kingdom rivers flowing into the North sea contributes about 20 per cent. of riverborne pollutants, although the United Kingdom has almost half the North sea coastline. The Rhine and Meuse alone contribute between 40 and 50 per cent. of pollutants carried by rivers.