Taking a commitment to protecting our sewers and seas.
This October we bring to you Unblocktober - this month-long campaign aims to increase awareness within the UK about the state of our drains, sewers and seas. The waste that we deposit into our drains and sewers is having a very real and often detrimental impact, not only how well these systems work, but down the road are affecting the health of our seas and water as well.
Started in 2021 Unblocktober saw 4,500 people across the UK involved in 2019, a number of participants that grew to over 14,500 in 2020. Their goal for numbers if even higher this year as they call on everyone to do their part in addressing how they dispose of certain household waste and where they dispose of it.
So this is the problem. When we throw absolutely everything and anything into our drains, and down our toilets too, we are creating a phenomenon known as fatbergs. These are essentially masses made up of everything that gets thrown down sewage systems - fat, oil, grease, wet wipes, feminine hygiene products, cotton buds, nappies and so much more. Sounds gross? So there you would be right, it is gross and a growing problem. These fatbergs block drains and sewers, and this in turn makes them less effective at doing what they are suppose to be doing. This creates massive headaches and problems for waste disposal systems and the people who manage them.
And despite awareness the issue is still not resolved. 77% of the UK population claim to know what a fatberg is, and 64% claim to understand what they should and shouldn't be throwing into their drains. However 44% of people are still disposing of materials and substances that cause fatbergs down their drains. So somewhere the message isn't getting home.
To make things easier in the name of spreading awareness here is a list of what should never be thrown down the toilet or drain -
Cooking oil - just don't do it, however easy it seems.
Food - no matter how small the amount. Compost it if you can, feed it to the dog, or put it in the bin not the drain. The worst offenders are butter, margarine, lard and cooking sauces. These are definite no-no's!
Wet wipes - there are very few truly flushable wipes, make sure any you use has passed the UK Flushability Test and that they are disposed of in accordance to the complete instructions on the package. If in doubt, do not flush!
Any product that includes plastic, no matter how small. This rules out most feminine hygiene products. It also includes nappies, some of the worst offenders when it comes to blocked drains and sewers. Other examples include contact lenses, cotton buds and dental floss.
Facemasks - these are a new offender based on increases usage over the past year or so. These should have their strings cut and be disposed of in a rubbish bin with the rest of the household waste.
Tackling fatbergs is part and parcel of our efforts to raise awareness about environmental protection and more sustainable lifestyle practices. We all have a part to play in protecting our waterways.