Clean Coasts and Irish Water are asking you to ‘Think Before You Flush’ on World Toilet Day

18 November 2022

This Saturday, November 19 is UN World Toilet Day, a day to illustrate the importance of the humble toilet. The theme for this year’s World Toilet Day is ‘Making the invisible visible’. This is about understanding why the connection between the toilet and the natural environment is so important. If waste such as wipes are flushed down the toilet, they can end up in rivers or on a beach, affecting water quality and marine life. A simple solution is to put a bin in the bathroom, only flush the 3P’s - pee, poo and paper down the toilet; everything else belongs in the bin.

To promote this day and the seventh year of the Think Before You Flush campaign, Clean Coasts and Irish Water are inviting the public to join the celebration of World Toilet Day and raise awareness of Think Before you Flush on Saturday, November 19. Think Before You Flush is a public awareness campaign operated by Clean Coasts in partnership with Irish Water. The campaign addresses the issue of flushing unsuitable items down the toilet and highlights the consequences of doing so such as blockages in our wastewater network and treatment plants; surface water overflows; and sewage related litter in our rivers, on our beaches and in our oceans, damaging our marine environment.

Recent research has found that one in five adults (21%) regularly admits to flushing items down the toilet that are known to cause blockages. These items such as wipes, cotton bud sticks and dental floss can cause detrimental effects on the wastewater network and the marine environment. This number reduced in the last year, but there still is a way to go. This World Toilet Day make the pledge to Think Before You Flush and only flush the 3 P’s. See more at www.thinkbeforeyouflush.org.

Speaking about the campaign, Sinead McCoy, Coastal Communities Manager, Clean Coasts said: “The Think Before You Flush campaign was set up as a result of finding sewage related waste such as wipes on Irish beaches. 80 percent of marine litter originates from inland sources. Something as simple as a wipe can travel from a flushed toilet to the ocean and finally the beach possibly causing blockages and damage to marine life as it makes its journey. We are delighted to partner with Irish Water to spread this important message. This World Toilet Day we are asking people to simply put a bin in your bathroom and always #thinkb4uflush.

Talking about the size and scale of the problem associated with flushing the wrong things down the toilet, Tom Cuddy, Irish Water said: “Every day people flush thousands of sanitary items such as wet wipes and cotton buds down the toilet instead of simply putting them in the bin. This causes blockages in our network, pumping stations and wastewater treatment plants. We clear approximately 10,000 blockages from our wastewater network every year.

Tom continued: “We are delighted to continue our partnership with Clean Coasts to deliver this important campaign together. We would like to thank the public for their ongoing support in the ‘Think Before You Flush’ campaign and together with Clean Coasts shine a light on the importance of World Toilet Day.

To commemorate World Toilet Day log on to our campaign website thinkbeforeyouflush.org, take action and sign the pledge. The first 200 people to do this will get a copy of our wonderful ‘Talking Shite’ book and a gunk pot.

Toilets are not invisible, and neither is waste, this World Toilet Day let us consider the link between our toilets and the water system and always Think Before You Flush.