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Dublin: 15°C Thursday 18 August 2022

Here are the top 15 items Irish people flush down the loo (that they shouldn't)

Are you guilty?

shutterstock_276637328 Source: Shutterstock/Tortoon Thodsapol

IRISH PEOPLE ARE flushing all sorts down the toilet and it’s not doing our drains or the environment any favours.  

A survey by An Taisce’s Clean Coasts Ireland and Irish Water of over 1,000 people over the age 18 reveals that three in 10 Irish adults have flushed items other than toilet paper down the toilet.

So what are we throwing down there without a thought for where it will end up?

Here’s the list:

  • Baby wipes 58%
  • Facial wipes 40%
  • Cotton buds 26%
  • Tampons 24%
  • Cigarette butts 21%
  • Plasters 18%
  • Condoms 18%
  • Food 15%
  • Medicines 12%
  • Sanitary pads 6%
  • Tampon applicators 5%
  • Toilet roll tube 4%
  • Nappies 2%
  • Cotton wool 1%
  • Dental floss 1%

Baby wipes are the worst offenders, with 6 in 10 adults admitting to flushing them. They are also one of the lead causes for fatbergs.

Fatbergs are caused by build up of sanitary products that can form into massive lumps of sludge.

Just recently a ten-tonne fatberg was pulled from a London sewer, so the authorities are anxious to avoid that over here.

Source: RuptlyTV/YouTube

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One in every two females said they flushed female hygiene products, while males on the other hand dispose of more cotton buds, cigarettes, plasters and condoms.

shutterstock_161761559 Source: Shutterstock/kaarsten

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Sure what’s the harm?

The survey also found the main reason for people doing this is due to lack of knowledge, with 40% saying they thought it was okay to do so and 33% saying they did it out of convenience.

In order to change peoples’ way of thinking, the ‘Think Before You Flush’ campaign is being launched to prevent items washing up on Ireland’s beaches.

shutterstock_77048440 Source: Shutterstock/matka_Wariatka

Annabel FitzGerald, Coastal Programmes manager at An Taisce said:

“During Clean Coasts Big Beach Clean in September 2014, a total of 1,191 cotton bud sticks were found on 103 beaches. By making small changes in our flushing behaviour we can prevent the harm caused by sewage related litter in the marine environment.”

Elizabeth Arnett, head of communications in Irish Water said the initiative is necessary:

“One of our major remits is the provision of reliable wastewater treatment, but everyone has a part to play in ensuring our beaches and rivers are pollution free. Through this campaign we can work together to improve our local freshwaters and coastal areas.’’

Think before you flush: 10-tonne fatberg removed from London sewer>

Read: 137 stranded on mountain top after earthquake>

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