The Think Before You Flush campaign visited Baldoyle to talk about sewage-related litter and its impacts on our marine environment

Issue date: 29/04/2024. Last Saturday the 27th of April Clean Coasts and Uisce Éireann participated in the Baldoyle Bay Biosphere Festival, encouraging people of all ages to cultivate responsible flushing behaviors and to pledge their commitment to the “Think Before You Flush” campaignThis initiative aims to raise awareness about the detrimental effects of flushing sanitary products and other damaging items down the toilet and to promote responsible waste management practices.

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 wet wipes are flushed down the toilet, they can cause serious blockages in sewage systems, causing sewage overflows and ultimately polluting our rivers, lakes, coastal waters and beaches.

Organized by the volunteers of Baldoyle’s local community, the festival is a day to celebrate the international importance of locations with EU environmental designations and UNESCO status, such as Baldoyle Bay.  The day was a celebration of what we have and how we can protect it for future generations. The Think Before You Flush team operated an information stand, inviting locals to engage in discussions about marine litter, wastewater treatment, and ways to safeguard our wastewater network and coastal habitats.

The team also discussed the Think Before You Pour campaign that looks at the issue of pouring fats, oils, and greases (FOGs) from cooking down the kitchen sink. Instead of flowing freely, FOG’s cool and harden as they travel along the wastewater network. When FOGs combine with sewage related litter such as wipes, hair and dental floss fatbergs can form. Uisce Éireann clears hundreds of blockages, including fatbergs, from the wastewater network every week. The Think Before Pour campaign urges everyone to avoid washing FOGs down the kitchen drain and, instead, dispose of them in the bin once cool.

Speaking about the event Sinéad Keogh from Clean Coasts said: “We are thankful to the local volunteers for inviting us to be part of this festival. We had a fantastic day with an amazing line up of talks, demonstrations, walks, paddleboarding, food vans and much more! We were delighted to be in Baldoyle and engage in conversations about the Think Before You Flush campaign with every member of the community. Sewage-related litter poses a real burden on our wastewater network and marine environment. The wonderful news is that the solution is straightforward. Only flush the 3 Ps (pee, poo, and paper) down the toilet. Everything else belongs in the bin. Through collaboration, we can support better flushing behaviour and deliver a tangible positive impact on our natural environment.”