Dubliners asked to think about what’s going down the drain this Christmas

by Rachel Cunningham
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Starting with a commitment this Christmas, Clean Coasts, in partnership with Irish Water, is appealing to all budding chefs, home cooks and most importantly the washer-uppers in Dublin to think before they pour any fats, oils or Greases (FOGs) down the kitchen sink. 

The campaign advises the public to allow FOGs to cool and then put in the bin, to help prevent pipe blockages and protect the natural and built environment. 

Fats, oils and greases may seem like liquid when poured, but they cool and harden as they travel along the pipes and can cause blockages in homes, businesses, the public sewer network and wastewater treatment plants. 

They can lead to sewage overflows in communities and can pollute rivers, beaches and the ocean. When FOGs combine with wipes and other sewage-related litter, such as hair and dental floss, fatbergs can form. Irish Water clears hundreds of blockages, including fatbergs, from the wastewater network every week. 

A recent survey revealed that over the past four years there has been a positive reduction in the number of people regularly pouring damaging items down the sink, reducing from 50 per cent in 2018 to 34 per cent in 2022. 

However, this still means that approximately three out of 10 people are still pouring FOGs down the kitchen sink and 39 per cent of people surveyed in Dublin claimed to be uncertain as to how they should responsibly dispose of FOGs. 

“This Christmas, let’s reduce the number of wastewater blockages backing up into our houses and gardens or spilling into the local environment,” said Tom Cuddy, Head of Operations, Irish Water. 

“Don’t pour those FOGs down the sink, but use a heat proof container to collect them, and put them in the bin once they have cooled. This will help prevent pipe blockages and protect the natural and built environment. 

“Every month Irish Water clears approximately 2,000 blockages from the wastewater network.”

Featured image: well-known chefs Lilly Higgins and Kwanghi Chan

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