Special workshop for schools organised by Clean Coasts to promote the ‘Think Before You Flush’ campaign

Schools from Dundalk town and neighbouring areas came together last week for a special workshop organised by Clean Coasts to promote the ‘Think Before You Flush’ campaign. Each school is currently participating in the Green Schools Programme and are working on themes such as ‘Litter and Waste’, ‘Marine’ and ‘Water’. Supported by Irish Water and hosted by Louth County Council, the workshop focused on presentations and practical activities about water and marine topics including biodiversity and how human behaviour impacts our coasts and the environment.

When the 3 Ps (pee, poo and paper) are flushed down the toilet they travel along the sewer network to wastewater treatment plants where they can be safely removed. However, everyday people flush thousands of items such as wet wipes, cotton bud sticks, nappies and cotton wool pads down the toilet instead of putting them in a bin. Flushing these items can have a negative impact on internal plumbing in homes and businesses, the wastewater network and our marine environment.

Why is this campaign needed?

Elaine Doyle, Clean Coasts Campaigns Officer said “Sewage related litter is one of the categories of waste we find on our beaches, however its presence is preventable through some simple measures. Through the ‘Think Before You Flush’ campaign we are working with Irish Water to change the nation’s flushing behaviour which will make a difference to our coastal environment.”

At the workshop, Jenny Lawlor, Senior Communications Officer for Irish Water spoke to students about the negative impact flushing inappropriate items down the toilet has on the public water network and at treatment plants. She said “Irish Water remove thousands of blockages from the sewer network every year and they are usually caused by items such as wet wipes, cotton bud sticks and sanitary items being flushed down the toilet. We are delighted to work with Clean Coasts on this campaign that highlights the damaging effect inappropriate flushing has on our wastewater network and environment.”

The ‘Think Before You Flush’ campaign highlights the importance of not using your toilet as a bin. The toilet can be seen as a gateway to the sea. During beach cleans the Clean Coasts staff and volunteers find sewage related waste such as wet wipes and cotton bud sticks, these have been flushed down a toilet and made their way to the beach.

More information

The Think Before You Flush campaign is operated by An Taisce’s Clean Coasts programme in partnership with Irish Water. For more information visit the Think Before You Flush website.


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