That may sound like a very strange question, but not if you talk to waste management specialists, who say that unflushables are driving them round the u-bend.
Water Industry professionals have seen it all, and say that the type and range of inappropriate material that people flush down the toilet no longer surprises them; they have found the more common items such as wet wipes, sanitary towels, and tights as well as some rather strange objects like car keys, teddy bears, minions, a rubber duck and a decapitated Buzz Lightyear.
While some of these may be seen as funny, or the doings of an imaginative young toddler, they have been causing major headaches for the water industry and causing blockages and internal sewage flooding.
In the UK alone, water companies estimate that the annual costs to unblock sewers run to approximately £90 million a year, excluding the human and environmental costs of sewer floods caused by such blockages.
A recent survey of women in the UK found that 41% flush sanitary items down the toilet and do not know they shouldn’t. This has led to the water industry believing that many items that are Flushed that shouldn’t be are due to , a misunderstanding or overconfidence of what the sewer system can take, or a lack of knowledge of what can and can’t be flushed.
Educating individuals as to what problems can be caused when anything other than bodily waste and tissue paper are flushed. Water companies have launched several campaigns to educate individuals as to what is “flushable” and what not, and to try to get people to change their flushing behaviour. Such campaigns seem to work well, especially one campaign in which individuals were encouraged to bin their cigarette butts by using bins as a voting system, voting for either Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo as the world’s best footballer, with each butt counting as a vote.
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