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A catch up with Margaret Doyle on World Ocean Day

Clúid Housing is pleased to support World Ocean Day on Tuesday 8th June by promoting a new environmental initiative called ‘Think Before You Flush‘. This public awareness campaign, run by Clean Coasts in partnership with Irish Water, highlights the problems caused by flushing non-flushable items down the toilet.

The ‘Think Before You Flush’ campaign is highlighting all the things that you should not flush down the toilet. Known as the Dirty Dozen, these items include: cotton buds, baby wipes, facial wipes, cleansing pads, toilet roll tubes, medicines, cigarettes, plasters, nappies, tampons, tampon applicators and sanitary pads.

We are delighted to promote the ‘Think Before You Flush’ campaign to over 21,000 Clúid residents, highlighting the three actions you can undertake at home that would make an immediate difference:

  • Put a bin in your bathroom (to reduce the likelihood of wipes and other sanitary related litter ending up in the toilet)
  • Switch to reusable options (to reduce your reliance on single-use items like wipes is to switch to reusable alternatives like a facial cloth)
  • Switch to plastic-free alternatives where possible.

Susan Vickers, Clúid Housing Energy and Environmental Manager, spoke to Margaret Doyle, a resident of Clúid’s Rockview scheme in Wexford about the campaign.

So Mags, what kind of items do you think can be flushed down the loo?
Toilet roll – that’s it.

Do you think that many people think the same?
No, not at all.
I know my niece and some friends of mine flush make up wipes, cotton roll and sanitary products down the toilet – thinking that just because they are small items it ok to flush them.
Also I know of a few times where expensive quilted toilet paper has caused blockages. The cheaper thinner toilet paper is much better.

Does it surprise you to hear that 75% of all blockages are caused by wipes being flushed down the toilet?!
Doesn’t surprise me in the least! I’ve seen kids in school flushing wipes and if they’re doing it in school then they are probably doing it at home.
Also – with the pandemic I can imagine more people are flushing wipes.
Wipes cause huge problems – they don’t break down, even those that are labelled flushable aren’t in fact flushable, they don’t break down either. Plus most have plastic fibres in them.

Do you think that people are aware that blockages can lead to sewer overflows which can significantly damage our environment and that some of these items can also escape the waste water treatment plants to ultimately end up in our rivers, lakes and seas? For example, items like cotton buds, wipes and sanitary products are regularly found washed up on our beaches.
I don’t think people are really aware of the consequences of their flushing habits at all. It’s shocking the problems that are caused. I think there’s a huge education piece to be done around all of this.

What suggestions do you think would help solve this problem?
Being aware of changing your habits. Put a bin in the bathroom and try to use products that are better for our environment such as a facecloth instead of disposable wipes!
Teaching our kids is really important as well as spreading the word to our family, friends and neighbours.
Remembering the 3P’s is really useful too – only flush pee, poo and paper down our toilets!

See Think Before You Flush for more information and ideas.




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