Do you Think Before You Flush?

Today, 15th June, Clean Coasts and Irish Water launched the Think Before You Flush Animation which is part of the Think Before You Flush campaign to tackle one of the largest categories of marine litter found on Ireland’s beaches, sewage related litter.

The animation shows the affect of sewage related waste has on our coastal environment and marine life. It also shows examples of what is currently being flushed by people in Ireland, which according to a recent study of over 1,000 Irish people includes baby wipes, cotton bud sticks, cigarette butts and plasters.

With more than half of those who flush these items down the toilet doing so simply due to a lack of knowledge, the animation aims to provide people with a better understanding of the problem sanitary products and other items can cause in our marine environment and our wastewater systems if they are flushed down the toilet; as well as encouraging the nation to bin such items instead of flushing them.

You can find the Think Before You Flush animation and more information on this public awareness campaign at

The animation is also available on the Clean Coasts YouTube channel:

Sewage Related Litter

Sewage Related Litter is made up of sanitary products and other items that are flushed down public and private toilets and end up littering inland and coastal waterways. Such litter typically consists of cotton bud sticks, sanitary towels, backing strips, tampons, plastic tampon applicators, cotton wool, condoms, cigarette stubs, facial cleansing wipes, baby wipes and toilet fresheners. Less common items include nappies, plasters, medicines and toilet roll tubes.

Sewage related litter enters the sewer system but this system is not designed to process them. Smaller items that are flushed, such as cotton buds, can escape through wastewater filters at the treatment plant and reach our rivers and beaches. Many other dangerous and unsuitable items are also incorrectly disposed of through the toilet into the sewage system, such as razor blades, healthcare waste and medicine. This can end up on our waterways and beaches. 

Clean Coasts

Clean Coasts Ireland is owned and operated by the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce – the National Trust for Ireland. It is funded by the Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government, Coca-Cola and Fáilte Ireland. It has been operating in Ireland for 11 years and engages 437 Clean Coasts groups and thousands of beach users. The Green Coast award is also part of the Clean Coasts programme and is an award for beaches that have excellent water quality but may not have the necessary built infrastructure to be eligible for the Blue Flag award.

Irish Water

Irish Water ( is the new national water utility responsible for providing and developing water services throughout Ireland. Incorporated in July 2013 as a semi-state company under the Water Services Act 2013, Irish Water will bring the water and waste water services of the 31 Local Authorities together under one national service provider. The purpose of Irish Water is to safeguard water as a precious natural resource and to deliver water services in a way that protects the environment and meets the needs of all citizens and industry now and in the future.

Irish Water will be accountable to two regulatory bodies – the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) which is the economic regulator for the water industry, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which is the environmental regulator.

Irish Water is a registered subsidiary company of Ervia (