People of Galway asked to Think Before You Flush and Think Before You Pour this summer

25 May 2022

Agus líon na dturasóirí ar Chathair na Gaillimhe ag dul isteach go tapa cheana féin agus na cathracha cóngarach do chuid de na láithreacha cósta agus trá is fearr san Iarthar, tá Cóstaí Glana, Uisce Éireann agus Comhairle Cathrach na Gaillimhe ag teacht le chéile chun meabhrú do mhuintir na Gaillimhe ‘Smaoineamh Sula Sruthlaíonn tú’ agus cabhrú le tránna gainimh, cladaigh spéire agus bánna uaigneach na hÉireann a chosaint. Tá an feachtas ag díriú ar West End na Gaillimhe, mar a léirigh suirbhé B&A go mbíonn beagnach 20,000 duine atá ina gcónaí sa chathair ag sruthlú túáillí fliucha agus earraí sláintíochta eile síos an leithreas go rialta.

An t-earrach seo tá an feachtas ‘Smaoineamh Sula Sruthlaíonn tú’ ag obair le Comhairle Cathrach na Gaillimhe chun an teachtaireacht a chur chun cinn i gceantar móréilimh an West End, a bhfuil cáil air as a bhunaíochtaí bia agus ceoil. Agus an chathair ag ullmhú dá sní isteach bliantúil de thurasóirí agus de lucht freastail araon, tá gnólachtaí sa cheantar ag obair le chéile chun an teachtaireacht thábhachtach ‘Smaoineamh Sula Sruthlaíonn tú’ a scaipeadh toisc go bhfuarthas amach i suirbhé Iompraíochta agus Dearcadh go n- admhaíonn duine as gach ceathrar daoine fásta go bhfuil siad ag sruthlú rudaí síos an leithreas arb eol go bhfuil siad ina gcúis le bacainní inár líonra fuíolluisce agus inár n-ionad cóireála. Sin beagnach 20,000 duine i gCathair na Gaillimhe amháin.

San West End i nGaillimh tá an feachtas ag spreagadh an phobail agus gnólachtaí le ‘Smaoinigh Sula Doirteann tú’, agus laghdú a dhéanamh ar an méid Saill, Olaí agus Gréisc (SOGanna) a dhoirteadh síos an doirteal. Bíonn SOGanna leachtach nuair a dhéantar iad a dhoirteadh, ach fuaraíonn siad agus cruaíonn siad agus iad ag taisteal feadh an líonra píopaí agus is féidir leo bacainní a chur faoi deara inár dtithe, inár ngnóthaí, sa líonra séarachais phoiblí agus in ionaid chóireála fuíolluisce. Is féidir go dtiocfadh ró-shreabhadh séarachais inár bpobail agus truailliú inár n-uiscebhealaí as seo fiú. Nuair a chomhcheanglaíonn SOGanna le túáillí fluiche agus le bruscar eile a bhaineann le séarachas, is féidir le gruaige agus cnoic saille flas fiacla a fhoirmiú. Glanann Uisce Éireann na céadta blocáil lena n-áirítear cnoic saille ón ngréasán fuíolluisce gach seachtain. Tarlaíonn thart ar 8 as 10 mbac de bharr míreanna míchuí a bheith sruthlaithe síos an leithreas in éineacht le sOGanna.

I gCathair na Gaillimhe tá Uisce Éireann ag obair freisin le bunaíochtaí seirbhíse bia lena n-áirítear bialanna, beir leat agus bunaíochtaí ina n-ullmhaítear bia chun comhairle a sholáthar ar an mbainistíocht cistine is fearr chun bacanna SOG a chosc agus chun a chinntiú go bhfuil ceadúnas Eisiltigh Trádála Saillte, Olaí agus Gréisce acu i bhfeidhm.

Ag labhairt di faoin bhfeachtas, dúirt Louise Dywer, Speisialtóir Comhlíonta le Uisce Éireann, “Is mór an tionchar a bhíonn ag na rudaí míchearta a shruthlú síos an leithreas agus ag doirteadh FOGanna síos an doirteal, mar táimid fós ag baint na céadta bac séarachais dár líonra gach mí.

Is féidir le bacanna a bhaint a bheith ina jab olc, uaireanta bíonn ar oibrithe dul isteach i séaraigh chun bacanna a bhaint le sluaistí. Is féidir roinnt bacainní a bhaint le trealamh scairdeadh agus súchán. Chonaic mé baic caidéil a bhí ar oibrithe a ghlanadh go litriúil de láimh chun na caidéil a chur ar bun agus a reáchtáil arís i rás in aghaidh an ama chun ró-shreabhadh séarachais chuig an gcomhshaol a sheachaint.

I gCathair na Gaillimhe tá ár dteachtaireacht simplí, níor cheart ach na 3 Ps, pee, poo agus páipéar a shruthlú síos an leithreas. Ba chóir gach rud eile lena n-áirítear túáillí fliuch agus táirgí sláintíochta eile a chur isteach sa bhosca bruscair, fiú má tá siad lipéadaithe mar fhliuchshreabhadh. Mar an gcéanna, ná doirt riamh SOGanna síos sa doirteal, lig pannaí agus tráidirí fuarú ar feadh cúpla nóiméad agus úsáid a bhaint as páipéar cistine, scríob an tsaill socraithe isteach i gcoimeádán agus diúscair an tsaill sa bhosca bruscair ghinearálta. Táimid ag obair go dian i gCathair na Gaillimhe chun líon na mbac séarachais, an baol tuilte do thithe agus gnólachtaí agus an baol truaillithe sa chomhshaol a dhéanann dochar don fhiadhúlra ar nós iasc agus éin agus na gnáthóga gaolmhara a laghdú.

Agus í ag míniú méid agus scála an dúshláin, dúirt Louise leis, “Is é ionad cóireála fuíolluisce Oileán Caorach an t-ionad cóireála is mó atá againn san Iarthar. Baintear gar do 100 tonna de túáillí fluiche agus míreanna eile ó na scáileáin ag an ngléasra gach mí, is é sin comhionann le 8 mbus dhá stór d'ábhar salach is gá a dhiúscairt. An séasúr seo, beidh ‘Smaoineamh Sula Sruthlaíonn tú agus Smaoinigh Sula Doirteann tú’ chun ár dtránna agus ár dtimpeallacht áitiúil a dhéanamh níos glaine agus níos sábháilte le cuairt a thabhairt orthu.

Ag labhairt di faoin bhfeachtas, dúirt Elaine Doyle, Oifigeach Feachtais Smaoineamh Sula Sruthlaíonn tú le Cóstaí Glana: “Is feachtas simplí ach tábhachtach é seo. Is féidir le dramhaíl a dhoirteadh síos an draein nó a sruthlaithe síos an leithreas tionchar suntasach a bheith aige ar shealbhóir tí, ar úinéir gnó, ar an ngréasán fuíolluisce, ar cháilíocht an uisce agus ar shaol na mara. Is féidir linn go léir gníomhartha a dhéanamh inár dtithe agus inár n-áiteanna oibre agus fíordhifríocht a dhéanamh, ní hamháin ag cabhrú lenár gcomharsana ach ag cabhrú le saol na mara agus ár n-uiscebhealaí áille. Tá lúcháir orainn na feachtais Smaoineamh Sula Sruthlaíonn tú agus Smaoinigh Sula Doirteann tú a reáchtáil i gcathair na Gaillimhe chun an teachtaireacht thábhachtach a scaipeadh.

Bhí baint ag Comhairle Cathrach na Gaillimhe leis an bhfeachtas Smaoineamh Sula Sruthlaíonn tú  mar chuid dá Tionscnamh Gnó Inbhuanaithe le Cumann Trádálaithe West End na Gaillimhe. Dúirt Tiarnan McCusker, Oifigeach Feasachta Comhshaoil Chathair na Gaillimhe: “Is pobal gnó rathúil é Westend na Gaillimhe atá ag iarraidh comharsanacht ghnó níos inbhuanaithe a chruthú. Mar chuid den tionscnamh Gnó Glas, fuair 33 Gnó agus 1 Scoil a bpacáistí Smaoineamh Sula Sruthlaíonn tú agus beidh siad ag cur an fheachtais chun cinn trí phoist ar na meáin shóisialta. Tá áthas ar Chomhairle Cathrach na Gaillimhe dul i gcomhpháirtíocht le Smaoineamh Sula Sruthlaíonn tú agus West End na Gaillimhe san fheachtas seo’’.

With the influx of tourists on Galway City already apace and the citys close proximity to some of the finest coastal and beach locations in the West, Clean Coasts, Irish Water and Galway City Council are joining forces to remind the people of Galway to ‘Think Before You Flush’ and help protect Ireland’s sandy beaches, rocky shores and secluded bays. The campaign is focusing on Galway’s West End, as a B&A survey revealed that almost 20,000 people living in the city regularly flush wet wipes and other sanitary items down the toilet.

This spring the ‘Think Before You Flush’ campaign is working with Galway City Council to promote the message in the popular West End area, renowned for its fine food and music establishments. With the city getting ready for its annual influx of tourists and staycationers alike, businesses in the area are working together to spread the important ‘Think Before You Flush’ message as a B&A survey finds that one in four adults admit to flushing items down the toilet that are known to cause blockages in our wastewater network and treatment plants. That’s close to 20,000 people in Galway City alone.  

In Galway’s West End the campaign is also encouraging the public and businesses to ‘Think Before You Pour’, and reduce the amount of Fats, Oils and Grease (FOGs) being poured down the sink. FOGs are liquid when poured, but they cool and harden as they travel along the pipe network and can cause blockages in our homes, businesses, the public sewer network and wastewater treatment plants. This can even lead to overflows of sewage in our communities and pollution in our waterways. When FOGs combine with wipes and other sewage related litter such as hair and dental floss fatbergs can form. Irish Water clears hundreds of blockages including fatbergs from the wastewater network every week. Approimately 8 out of 10 blockages are caused by inappropriate items being flushed down the toilet combined with FOGs.

In Galway City Irish Water is also working with food service establishments including restaurants, takeaways and establishments where food is prepared to provide advice on best kitchen management for the prevention of FOG blockages and to ensure that they have a Fats, Oils and Grease Trade Effluent licence in place.

Speaking about the campaign Louise Dywer, Compliance Specialist with Irish Water said, “The impacts of flushing the wrong things down the toilet and pouring FOGs down the sink are stark, as we are still removing hundreds of sewer blockages from our network every month.

Removing blockages can be a nasty job, sometimes workers have to enter sewers to remove blockages with shovels. Some blockages can be removed with jetting and suction equipment. I’ve seen pump blockages that workers have had to literally clear by hand in order to get the pumps up and running again in a race against time to avoid sewage overflows to the environment.

In Galway City our message is simple, only the 3 Ps, pee, poo and paper should be flushed down the toilet. All other items including wet wipes and other sanitary products should go in the bin, even if they are labelled as flushable. Similarly never pour FOGs down the sink, let pans and trays cool for a few minutes and using kitchen paper, scrape the setting fat into a container and dispose of the fat in the general bin. We are working hard in the Galway City area to reduce the number of sewer blockages, the risk of flooding to homes and businesses and the risk of pollution in the environment harming wildlife such as fish and birds and associated habitats.

Explaining the size and scale of the challenge, Louise added, “Mutton Island wastewater treatment plant is our largest treatment plant in the West. Close to 100 tonnes of wipes and other items are removed from the screens at the plant every month, that is the equivalent of 8 double decker buses of foul material that needs to be disposed of. This season, ‘Think Before You Flush’ and ‘Think Before You Pour’ and make our beaches and local environment cleaner and safer places to visit.

Speaking about the campaign, Elaine Doyle, a Think Before You Flush Campaigns Officer with Clean Coasts said: “This is a simple yet important campaign. Waste poured down the drain or flushed down the toilet can have a significant impact to a householder, business owner, the waste water network, water quality and marine life. All of us can take actions in our homes and places of work and make a real difference, not only helping our neighbours but helping marine life and our beautiful waterways. We are delighted to be running the Think Before Your Flush and Think Before You Pour campaigns in Galway city to spread the important message.

Galway City Council have been involved with the Think Before You Flush campaign as part of their Sustainable Business Initiative with Galway’s West End Traders Association. Tiarnan McCusker the Galway City Environmental Awareness Officer said: “Galway’s Westend is a thriving business community which is striving to create a more sustainable business neighbourhood. As part of the Green Business intiative, 33 Businesses and 1 School received their Think Before You Flush packs and will be promoting the campaign via social media posts. Galway City Council are delighted to partner with Think Before You Flush in this campaign’’.