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Water pollution is anything that spoils our rivers, lochs, seas and oceans.  Pollution can come from many sources such as:

Sewage and waste waterillustration of a pond

Sewage is the term used for waste water that contains faeces, urine and laundry or dishwater waste.

Sewage disposal is a major problem in developing countries as many people in these areas don’t have access to sanitary conditions and clean water.

Sewage in developed countries is carried away from the home quickly and hygienically through sewage pipes. In richer countries such as ours, sewage is treated in waste water treatment works, where it is made safe.

People sometimes flush chemicals and medicines down the toilet, or things made from substances that do not biodegrade quickly, like plastics.

People also flush:

  1. Nappies
  2. Cotton buds
  3. Cotton wool
  4. Baby wipes
  5. Razors
  6. Paper towels
  7. Nappy liners
  8. Plasters
  9. Cotton wool
  10. Medicine/tablets
  11. Sweet wrappers

Some people also illegally throw weedkiller or paint stripper down the drain.

These things can block and break sewage screens at the treatment works and can also end up on the beach and in rivers.

Some of the more unusual items we have found at treatment works include toys and even false teeth!

Please don't flush any of these things down the toilet. Instead put them in a bag and then put the bag in the bin.

Click the link to find out about our 'Cycle' campaign which aims to Keep the water cycle running smoothly:

Other types of water pollution are:

  1. Marine dumping
  2. Oil pollution
  3. Atmospheric
  4. Eutrophication (also known as diffuse pollution)

Find out what we are doing to help advise farmers and landowners to diffuse pollution.