Hundreds of ‘sewage’ tomatoes growing at Pegwell Bay

The 'sewage' tomatoes at Pegwell Photos Deva Corriveau

Hundreds of tomatoes growing on the coastline at Pegwell Bay are the result of combined sewer outfalls into the sea.

The bumper crop was spotted by designer Deva Corriveau during a walk near the former hoverport site.

He said: “I was walking down at the beach by the old hovercraft pad in Pegwell, and noticed literally hundreds of tomatoes growing right on the waterfront, which seemed very strange.

“At first, I thought it was quite an exciting, interesting oddity – or that maybe they weren’t tomatoes at all. But, then I decided to do a bit of research online, unfortunately, and rather disgustingly, I found out why there’s a bumper crop of tomatoes growing on the beach.

“Tomato seeds apparently are not broken down in the human digestive tract, so when Southern Water releases the sewerage overflows into the sea and onto the beach, these seeds are scattered onto the beaches where they happily take root.”

Thanet wildlife enthusiast Nik Mitchell has also spotted the tomato crop and confirmed Deva’s research.

Nik, who runs the Wildlife Conservation in Thanet page on facebook, said: “In recent years I have found lots of the evidence of raw sewage going into our rivers and seas, normally things like floss harps, plasters, applicators and ear buds. But poop tomatoes is a new one on me.

“The human body tends not to digest tomatoes and they are a large part of our diet. So as the untreated sewage hits our waters the seeds have been washing up along the coastline all around Thanet but it is only in Pegwell Bay where there are fertile conditions and they are able to grow.

“I am very in touch with Pegwell Bay and this is the first time I have noticed hundreds of tomato plants growing. They are great for snacking on whilst doing my litter picks!

“When talking about the sewage spillages I like to point out to people that it’s not just our seas being polluted it is our rivers too and it’s not just raw sewage it is heavily polluted road runoff too.”


  1. They have been growing there since untreated sewage was pumped straight out when I was a kid in the 60s. Since then they have seeded themselves. It’s not a recen thing or a recently introduced plant crop.

  2. They have been growing there for years. I used to see the plants growing there when I was a kid going there bait digging. Mostly found to the Ramsgate side of the hoverport. This would have been 1968-9.

  3. yes i can remember them growing there in the 60,s too karen , but i dont think i would want to eat them given the journey they have been on ?

    • No different from any crop fertilised with animal-based manure. Many gardeners put horse manure on their garden crops or allotments.

      • Yes but animal manure is largely plant based. Our ‘manure’ contains meat derivatives, and so can contain nasty pathogens such as C diff. Yes, I too use horse manure in my composting at home, but certainly wouldn’t put ‘human’ ‘waste’ in there, which is certainly NOT recommended!

  4. They also grow on the t ip in Margate ! This not from the same source of course ! Foxes and other wildlife eat them on the beach

  5. Human waste is used to fertilise crops in the UK it’s bought from the EU since it’s against their regulations to use it on their own farms
    But we have our own more looser regulatory standards

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