School is back and pupils in schools throughout Ireland are being urged to Think Before You Flush! Clean Coasts in partnership with Irish Water are asking pupils to help protect their local environment by being mindful of the connection between the toilet and our beaches. Only the 3 P’s (Pee, Poo and Paper) should be flushed down the toilet and everything else should go in the bin. If the wrong things, like wipes, dental floss and sanitary items get flushed down the toilet they can lead to blockages, wastewater overflows and discharges to our marine environment where they can harm wildlife or wash up on our shores.
As part of the Think Before You Flush campaign, national schools throughout the country are receiving information and resources about the Think Before You Flush campaign in a bid to reduce the number of wastewater blockages and overflows to our environment.
Approximately 2,000 blockages occur in the Irish Water wastewater network every month, 75% of which are caused by wipes. Raising awareness of this issue particularly with schools will help get this important message out to a wider younger audience. As part of the Think Before You Flush campaign, schools will receive an information pack containing Think Before You Flush resources for display as well as educational activities.
From a recent survey conducted earlier this year it was found that there has been a significant 33% reduction in the number of people flushing sanitary related items down the toilet, which is a great achievement, but we need to continue. The same survey found that 1 in 4, which equates to approximately 1 million people are still flushing inappropriate items down the toilet, with the highest incidence of sewage related littering in the younger age profiles. The reason many people gave for flushing unsuitable items down the toilet was simply not knowing the impact that their flushing behaviour can have on their local environment.
Speaking about the campaign Donal Heaney, Regional Operations Manager from Irish Water said: “At our wastewater treatment plants we are removing lots of wipes and other items from the screens at the inlet. Our crews are also dealing with thousands of blockages in our sewers, that can cause overflows to the environment. We are delighted to be working with schools around Ireland to raise awareness of this item and encourage teachers, pupils and their families to Think Before You Flush.”
Elaine from Clean Coasts added: “We know that by educating children on environmentally responsible behaviour, it sets them up to become environmentally responsible adults and possible future change makers. Making small changes in our homes, only flushing the 3 P’s; Pee, Poo and Paper down the toilet and simply putting a bin in your bathroom can have a significant positive impact on our local waterways, beaches and rocky shorelines.”
Join the campaign at www.thinkbeforeyouflush.org and follow @CleanCoasts on social media.