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Friday 28 October 2016

Listed: Top items Irish people (wrongly) flush down toilet

Published 08/06/2015 | 00:01

Think before you flush and pollute your coastal area
Think before you flush and pollute your coastal area

Thousands of baby wipes, facial wipes, cotton buds and cigarettes are the most common items flushed down toilets that are polluting Ireland’s scenic coastline.

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Three in 10 adults admitted to flushing items other than toilet paper down the toilet, yet 90pc said sewage related seeing litter during a visit to the beach in Ireland would disgust them.

The data was released by Clean Coasts and Irish Water as they launched Think Before You Flush, less than two weeks after three of Ireland's most popular beaches were stripped of their coveted Blue Flag status.

Brittas Bay North in Co Wicklow, Enniscrone in Co Sligo and Skerries beach in north Dublin all lost out on the sought-after international award this year, while 86 flags were awarded.

Read more: Did your local beach get a blue flag? Check the list here

The campaign aims to tackle the problem of sewage related litter on Ireland’s beaches, particularly sanitary products which can either block wastewater systems or destroy the environment.

Annabel FitzGerald, of An Taisce, said the campaign aims to prevent items like cotton bud sticks washing up on Ireland’s spectacular beaches through education and awareness.

During Clean Coasts big beach clean last September some 1,191 cotton bud sticks – which can be mistaken as food by wildlife - were found on 103 beaches.

“By making small changes in our flushing behaviour we can prevent the harm caused by sewage related litter in the marine environment,” she said.

Read more: Poor water quality leads to loss of coveted Blue Flags

Every day people flush thousands of sanitary items such as baby wipes and cotton bud sticks down the toilet instead of simply putting them in the bin. Other items that are frequently flushed down the toilet include cigarette butts and plasters.

In a study of over 1000 people in Ireland, 3 in 10 admitted to flushing such items down the toilet.

Of those 58% admitted to flushing baby wipes down the toilet, 40% facial wipes, 26% cotton bud sticks, 24% tampons and 21% cigarette butts.

Other items include Plasters, Condoms, Food, Medicines and even nappies.

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