Letters tenants are being encouraged to do their bit for the environment by joining Unblocktober, the world’s first month-long campaign to improve the health of our drains, sewers, watercourses and seas.
Everyday items we throw down the loo or sink lead to the creation of fatbergs – enormous masses of congealed fat, oil, grease, wet wipes, sanitary products, cotton buds, nappies and more – which are blocking our drains and sewers.
Many of the items contain hidden plastic and are therefore non-biodegradable. It’s estimated that around eight million pieces of plastic find their way into the sea every day.
Wet wipes a big no-no
An “autopsy” of 64-metre fatberg found under Sidmouth in Devon (pictured above) has just revealed that domestic waste such as wet wipes, animal fats and even false teeth were largely to blame.
Yorkshire Water is called out to 30,000 blockages each year and says it spends £2.4m a year unblocking our sewer network. It is asking us to all to commit to only putting water down the sink with just the three Ps – pee, poo and paper – going in the toilet.
Yorkshire Water Wastewater Campaign Lead, Adrian Flanagan, said: “Wipes, especially so-called “flushable wipes” are a major issue for us and cause real problems in the network. Wipes contain plastic which don’t break down in the system and after time build up and cause a blockage.”
Letters Managing Director Anya Mathewson said: “Generally our tenants are very thoughtful and we do remind them that wet wipes shouldn’t be flushed and no fat should be going down plugholes. But Unblocktober is a great way of reinforcing that message to us all. Hopefully if we all consistently observe it, we can help make a big difference to the environment.”
It’s easy to get involved
Unblocktober organisers are asking people to get involved by committing to putting none of the following items down their drains or toilets for the whole of the month:
- Cooking oil
- Food – even crumbs
- Butter, margarine or lard
- Cooking sauce
- Wet wipes
- Period products: tampons, applicators, towels and wrappers
- Cotton buds
- Contact lenses
- Bandages and plasters
- Dental floss
- Razor blades