Bláthnaid Treacy is urging the public to ‘Think Before You Flush’

by Alison O'Hanlon
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Broadcaster Bláthnaid Treacy is urging the public to ‘Think Before You Flush’ as part of a new campaign with Irish Water and Clean Coasts following research which revealed that almost a million Irish adults continue to flush wipes and other inappropriate items down the toilet. Small changes and positive flushing habits will help protect our environment and marine life from harmful waste.

Worryingly those aged under 35 are twice as likely to dispose of ‘flushable’ wipes down the toilet, compared to those aged over 35. No wipes whether marked‘flushable’ or not should be flushed down the toilet. With sea swimming and the use of our beaches increasingly popular all year-round, it’s a timely reminder that our flushing behaviour has a direct impact on the environment and that making small changes can helpprevent sanitary waste ending up on Ireland’s sandy beaches, rocky shores and secluded bays.

A new campaign video targeting under 35 years olds aims to connect with this audience in way that encourages real behavioural change.

Broadcaster Bláthnaid Treacy who is also supporting the campaign, said: “I am delighted to support the ‘Think Before You Flush’ campaign. For me, it is important that we all play a positive role when it comes protecting the environment. Collectively, small changes can have a huge impact so I would encourage everyone to consider their flushing habits. It is simple really, just ‘Think Before You Flush’. 

Donal Heaney, Irish Water ,Broadcaster Bláthnaid Treacy and Sinead McCoy,Clean Coasts launch the ‘Think Before You Flush’ campaign Picture Brian McEvoy

Speaking about the survey results Donal Heaney, Irish Water said: “In 2018, our research informed us that 36% of people living in Ireland were regularly flushing the wrong things down the toilet. The impacts of flushing the wrong things down the toilet are clear to see, as we are still removing thousands of sewer blockages from our network every month and continue to see this waste ending up on our beaches”. 

“We are keen to remind people that wipes should never be flushed down the toilet even if they are labelled as ‘flushable’. The impact of this waste ending up in our natural environment, on our beaches, shores and riverways is stark. Removing this waste from the sewerage network can be a nasty job which is easily avoided.”

“Our message is simple: only the 3 Ps, pee, poo and paper should be flushed down the toilet. All other items including wipes and other sanitary products should go in the bin even if they are labelled as flushable. This will reduce the number of sewer blockages, the risk of flooding to homes and businesses and the risk of pollution in the environment harming wildlife such as fish and birds and associated habitats. We have all witnessed the love story unfold between the public and swimming whether that be at piers, beaches, lakes orrivers. A small change in our flushing behaviour can make a big difference to our natural environment – put wipes, cotton bud sticks and sanitary items in the bin and not down the toilet.”

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