In a landmark collaboration, local authorities from coastal regions across Ireland have come together to pledge their commitment to the “Think Before You Flush” campaign on all Blue Flag Beaches. This initiative aims to raise awareness about the detrimental effects of flushing instead of binning sanitary products on our natural environment including beaches and promote responsible waste management practices among beachgoers.
The “Think Before You Flush” campaign, operated by Clean Coasts in partnership with Uisce Éireann, emphasises the importance of appropriate flushing behaviour and disposal of items including wipes and other sanitary products in the bin, even if they are labelled as flushable. Only the 3 Ps, pee, poo and paper should be flushed down the toilet. When items such as wipes and sanitary products are flushed down the toilet, they can cause serious blockages in sewage systems, leading to sewage overflows and ultimately polluting coastal waters and beaches.
Recognising the urgent need to protect Ireland’s remarkable coastal ecosystems, local authorities along the Irish coast have united in their commitment to spread awareness about the campaign and promote responsible waste disposal practices.
Under this collaborative effort, participating local authorities will display Think Before You Flush signage on Blue Flag Beaches, offering clear instructions on the appropriate flushing behaviour, highlighting the main items people incorrectly flush down their toilets (the ‘Dirty Dozen’) and encouraging visitors to use designated sanitary waste bins.
By partnering with Clean Coasts and Uisce Éireann’s Think Before You Flush campaign, local authorities aim to foster a culture of environmental responsibility, where individuals can take proactive steps to protect our coastal habitats. The success of this campaign hinges on the participation and support of all stakeholders, including the public, beachgoers, residents, and tourists alike.
Sinead McCoy, Coastal Communities Manager at Clean Coasts, expressed her enthusiasm for the local authorities’ collaborative efforts and support of the campaign.
“We are thrilled to see local authorities from coastal regions across Ireland joining forces to champion the ‘Think Before You Flush’ campaign on our cherished Blue Flag Beaches. This joint commitment not only underscores dedication to promoting environmental practices but also highlights shared responsibility for our coastal communities.”
Talking about the importance of safeguarding our water and our local environment including our Blue Flag beaches Tom Cuddy, Uisce Éireann said: “Everyday people flush thousands of sanitary items such as wet wipes and cotton buds down the toilet instead of simply putting them in the bin. This causes blockages in our network, pumping stations and wastewater treatment plants and can lead to sewage overflows impacting some of our most beautiful coastal and river locations. We clear approximately 10,000 blockages from our wastewater network every year.”
Tom continued: “We are delighted to continue our partnership with Clean Coasts and collaborate with local councils and communities including those with Blue Flag beaches to preserve and protect our environment and to shine a light on the link between what you flush down the toilet and can end up on your local.”
Learn more about the Think Before You Flush campaign at https://thinkbeforeyouflush.org/