Bogged down with wrong waste

Thames water has launched an information campaign after a survey revealed almost half of its customers flush unsuitable things down the loo.

The campaign ‘Bin it – don’t block it’ is an attempt to stop what the firm calls ‘sewer abuse’ and follows research by the company into what people believe can be thrown down a toilet.

According to the survey 41% customers flush something they shouldn’t down toilets and one in four women wrongly think sanitary items can go down the u-bend.

Thames Water’s chief operating officer, Steve Shine, said: “This year alone we have had to deal with 55,000 blockages in London and the Thames Valley, resulting in flooding to 7000 homes and gardens.

“The majority of blockages are caused by sewer abuse, when things like cooking fat, sanitary products and wet wipes are wrongly put down toilets and drains, often causing misery for thousands of people because they block sewers, leading in some cases to waste backing up into people’s homes.

“This is disgusting and often aggravated by confusing and misleading product labelling which encourages customers to flush unsuitable items, including toddler wipes and sanitary items.

“These items disappear when you flush your loo, but they can take a number of years to break down.

“Our message is simple: Bin it – don’t block it in other words, anything other than human waste and toilet paper should not be flushed down the toilet.”

As well as raising awareness, Thames Water is currently working with the water industry and with trade associations to implement long-term solutions.

Luke Walsh

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