By Dan Walsh
Today is United Nations World Toilet Day and the fifth year of the Think Before You Flush campaign.
World Toilet Day celebrates toilets and raises awareness of the 4.2 billion people worldwide living without access to safely managed sanitation. It is about taking action to tackle the global sanitation crisis and achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030.
The Think Before You Flush campaign highlights the problems caused by flushing items such as wipes and cotton buds down the toilet. Research shows that 30% of people living in Ireland admit to flushing items such as wipes and cotton buds down the toilet, causing detrimental effects on the waste-water network and the marine environment.
Sinead McCoy, Clean Coasts Officer said: “The Think Before You Flush campaign was the result of finding sewage related waste such as wipes on Irish beaches. 80% of marine litter originates from inland sources. Something as simple as a wipe can travel from a flushed toilet to the ocean and finally the beach possibly causing blockages and damage to marine life as it makes its journey.”
Niall O’Riordan, Regional Operations Wastewater Lead, Irish Water 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. We clear approximately 2,000 blockages from our wastewater network every month.”
A simple solution is to dispose of wipes, cotton buds and other sanitary products in the bin and to only flush the 3P’s – pee, poo, and paper down the toilet.
On World Toilet Day, Clean Coasts are reminding people that their actions at home can help to keep our beaches clean. To spread awareness and celebrate World Toilet Day, Clean Coasts are running an online competition to win a year’s supply of sustainable toilet paper. Competition details on available on @TheUselessProject and @CleanCoasts Instagram pages.
More information about the Think Before You Flush campaign can be found at www.thinkbeforeyouflush.org