02 October 2023
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Nature Calls Campaign Urges People to Prevent Sewer Blockages02 October 2023
A Scottish Water operative is pictured here with a haul of items wrongly flushed down the toilet which has led to a sewer blockage. People should only flush the three P's - pee, poo and paper - everything else should go in the bin.
Scottish Water is urging customers across Scotland to help prevent sewer blockages by binning wipes.
“Fewer blockages save money that can be invested in our infrastructure. The impact of legislation change regarding wipes containing plastic and a change in people’s behaviour will save Scottish Water and our customers millions of pounds and crucially the saving to the environment will be priceless.”Brian Lironi
Scottish Water Director of Corporate Affairs
About 80% of blockages are due to the wrong items, including wet wipes and sanitary products, being flushed down toilets and put into the sewer network.
Based on the results of a YouGov Omnibus survey for Scottish Water, 74% of people in Scotland claim never to flush wipes down the loo, yet 36% of households do not have bins in their bathrooms.
We are again calling on people to flush only the three P's - pee, poo and paper – and reminding them that everything else should be binned.
18 months on from the launch of Scottish Water’s Nature Calls campaign, in which we urge people to take on the key message to ‘bin the wipes’, the issue of blockages across the sewer network remains a significant challenge
We are working hard to reduce blockages and to remind customers to do their bit to keep sewers flowing as they should by flushing only the three Ps.
There were 34,587 sewage blockages in Scotland last year and this cost Scottish Water customers around £7m to clear up.
Climate change is bringing unpredictable weather and more severe rainfall, which puts a greater strain on an aging sewer system.
Scottish Water is transforming its business to cope with the challenges that climate change is bringing – committing to investment of up to £500 million to improve waste water systems as part of its Urban Water Improvement Routemap.
Scottish Water’s Nature Calls campaign is backed by a range of organisations, including the Marine Conservation Society, Keep Scotland Beautiful, and Zero Waste Scotland.
As part of the campaign, Scottish Water is calling for a ban on wipes containing plastics. People can back the ban by adding their name and email to the supporters list at www.JoinTheWave.Scot/Ban.
Our campaign urges customers to bin all wipes and calls on the governments in Edinburgh and London to ban all wipes that contain plastic.
Earlier this this year, the UK Government announced plans to ban all wipes containing plastic. The Scottish Government has given a commitment to pursue a ban on wipes containing plastic, which is currently with DEFRA to look at the introduction of legislation to that effect.
Brian Lironi, Scottish Water Director of Corporate Affairs, said: “Public support for our Nature Calls campaign has been encouraging and we are urging people to continue supporting us by helping reduce the number of blockages.
“Thousands of tonnes of material containing wipes has to be removed from our waste water treatment works. But wipes continue to be flushed every day, which blocks sewers, causes flooding or during extreme weather events, gets flushed into rivers causing beach pollution and harm wildlife.”
“Fewer blockages save money that can be invested in our infrastructure. The impact of legislation change regarding wipes containing plastic and a change in people’s behaviour will save Scottish Water and our customers millions of pounds and crucially the saving to the environment will be priceless.”
Barry Fisher, Keep Scotland Beautiful Chief Executive, added: “Our work across the country to tackle the litter emergency and to ensure Scotland becomes litter free unfortunately makes us very aware of the behaviours which we need to target to inspire change.
“Scottish Water’s Nature Calls campaign will help industry and individuals to understand that their actions can and do make a difference, and we support it wholeheartedly because it aligns with the aims and ambitions of our Upstream Battle campaign - tackling litter from source to sea.
“Increasing numbers of people want to do the right thing for our environment but we need to make that as easy as possible for everyone – including giving clear guidance on how to dispose of products responsibly and encouraging manufacturers to find affordable alternatives to plastic free wipes.”
More information on how people can help prevent blockages is available via the Discover More section below: