Anglian Water is asking UK parents to change the way they dispose of waste such as wipes, nappies and sanitary products.
As part of the Keep It Clear initiative Anglian Water has created a 3D light show which illustrates exactly what happens when waste like fats, oils, wipes and sanitary products are thrown down sinks and toilets.
Paul Gibbs of Anglian Water said, “This event shows, in all its technicolour glory, the scale of the problem we face when our sewers are clogged up with rubbish that shouldn’t be in them. These ‘unflushables’ – things like wipes and other sanitary waste – simply shouldn’t be flushed away in the first place. But when they are dumped into the sewer, they stick to the fats and oils that have set hard in the cold depths of our sewers, and they cause blockages. Bad smells are just the tip of the iceberg. Sewer flooding and environmental damage are very real possibilities when this happens.”
As part of the campaign Anglian Water has launched a brand new website, www.keep-it-clear.co.uk, where people can create personalised tips on how to get rid of waste effectively in the home and help reduce drain blockages in their local community.
The cost of sewer blockages – facts
- The economic and environmental costs of sewer blockages in the Anglian region are very high for all residents.
- There are 15,000 blockages a year in Anglian Waters sewer system, a problem that risks serious environmental pollution.
- 50%+ are caused by fats, oils, greases (FOG) & unflushables like sanitary towels and cleaning wipes.
- It costs £7 million every year to clear blockages – a cost which contributes to customer bill increases – this money could be better spent on improving services to you!
- People’s behaviour can positively contribute to halving the number of avoidable blockages caused by fats, grease and unflushables by 2015
- One in every two adults in the UK purchases wipes of any type. Wipes are the leading type of cleanser with over 10 million users. Source: TGI (April 2009 – March 2010). Main shoppers.
- The environmental cost of sewer blockage is massive including an increase in associated carbon emissions of cleaning blockages, danger of sewage flooding to local environments, environmental pollution caused by blockages and depletion of oxygen and pollution in rivers and other waters.
- The social cost of sewer blockage is massive including disruption to daily lives of work to fix sewer blockages, sewer flooding in homes which is distressing, unpleasant, time-consuming and costly; sewer flooding in local roads and communities which is inconvenient for local people and the smells are unpleasant, and loss of amenities by pollution to rivers (e.g. parks, fishing)
And here are main causes of sewer blockages in the Anglian Region:
- Fats and oils (food service)
- Sanitary waste
- Food waste (food service)
- Fats, oils and greases (domestic)
- Liners (nappy, incontinence)
- Disposable nappies
- Food waste (domestic)
- Cotton buds
- Plasters and bandages
- Stoma care products
- Building rubble/silt
- Underwear and tight