ALMOST ONE million people living in Ireland use their toilets as a bin, a new survey from Irish Water has found.
The survey conducted by the company and Clean Coasts found that people still regularly flush wipes and other sanitary itms own the toilet, with those aged under 35 being twice as likely to dispose 'flushable' wipes down the toiler compared to those aged over 35.
This is despite the fact that no wipe, whether market as flushable or not, should be flushed down the toilet.
The results have prompted the launch of the 'Think Before You Flush' campaign, which encourages people to be more conscious of the impact of incorrectly using their toilets.
With sea swimming and the use of our beaches increasingly popular all year-round, Irish Water believes it is a timely reminder that flushing behaviour has a direct impact on the environment, and that making small changes can help prevent sanitary waste ending up on Ireland’s sandy beaches, rocky shores and secluded bays.
Speaking about the survey results Donal Heaney, Irish Water said:
“In 2018, our research informed us that 36% of people living in Ireland were regularly flushing the wrong things down the toilet. Irish Water have been working in partnership with Clean Coasts on the ‘Think Before You Flush’ campaign and during this time, we have made significant progress, as this figure has now reduced to 21%.
"Whilst this represents a 42% improvement in peoples flushing behaviour, it still represents almost a million people using the toilet as a bin. The impacts of flushing the wrong things down the toilet are clear to see, as we are still removing thousands of sewer blockages from our network every month and continue to see this waste ending up on our beaches."
"Our message is simple: only the 3 Ps, pee, poo and paper should be flushed down the toilet. All other items including wipes and other sanitary products should go in the bin even if they are labelled as flushable. This will reduce the number of sewer blockages, the risk of flooding to homes and businesses and the risk of pollution in the environment harming wildlife such as fish and birds and associated habitats."
Speaking about the 'Think Before You Flush' campaign, Sinead McCoy, Clean Coasts said:
“The Think Before You Flush campaign, through education and awareness, aims to prevent items like wipes, cotton bud sticks and sanitary items washing up on Ireland’s spectacular beaches. While we have seen a positive improvement in the nations flushing behaviour since 2018, one in five adults still admit to regularly flushing unsuitable items down the toilet.
"By making small changes in our flushing behaviour, we can prevent the harm caused by sewage related litter in our marine environment. We are asking everybody to only flush the 3 P’s – pee, poo and paper, and put everything else in the bin.”