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‘Think Before You Flush’ and be the change you want to see in the world this World Toilet Day

18 November 2023

Sunday, 19 November, marks UN World Toilet Day, a day dedicated to celebrating toilets and raising awareness about the 3.5 billion people worldwide who lack access to safely managed sanitation. Clean Coasts and Uisce Éireann invite the public to participate in this celebration and to raise awareness about the vital role of our sanitation systems, which are fundamental to public health and environmental protection.

This year, the hummingbird serves as the symbol of World Toilet Day and reminds us of an ancient tale about a hummingbird that extinguished a massive fire by carrying droplets of water in its beak. This story conveys the idea that each of us can take action, however small it may be, to help solve a big problem.

The Think Before You Flush Campaign, operated by Clean Coasts in partnership with Uisce Éireann, addresses the issue of flushing unsuitable items down the toilet and highlights the consequences of doing so. Flushing items such as wipes down the toilet can lead to blockages in our wastewater network and treatment plants, sewage overflows, and sewage related litter ending up on our beaches and in our oceans, damaging the marine environment. Many toiletries, such as wet wipes, cotton pads and dental floss, are part of the ‘Dirty Dozen’ which are the top 12 items that are incorrectly flushed down the toilet in Ireland. Other items include hair, paper towels, medicine, tampons, food items, contact lenses, condoms, cigarette butts and cotton bud sticks.

In Ireland, three out of four people have already embraced responsible behaviour, actively safeguarding our wastewater pipes and environment. This World Toilet Day, Think Before You Flush and be the change you want to see in the world. Learn more at and

Speaking about the Think Before You Flush education and awareness campaign Tom Cuddy, Uisce Éireann said: “We know people are more aware than ever before about the importance of safeguarding their water and environment for their future. The impacts associated with inappropriate flushing behaviour are clear to see all over Ireland along rivers and on beaches as Uisce Éireann continues to clear over 10,000 blockages every year, as well as dealing with sewage overflows.”

Tom continued: “By making one small change today in your flushing behaviour you can directly help make a huge difference to your local environment.  As Uisce Éireann continues its journey of upgrading and developing critical wastewater infrastructure to support sustainable growth and development, it is important that we all continue to work together to protect and enhance our environment. Our message is simple: Make one small change today, ‘Think before You Flush’ and continue to only flush the 3 P’s down the toilet – pee, poo and paper. Everything else should go in a bin.

Sinead McCoy, Clean Coasts Manager with the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce said: “Like the hummingbird, we can be small but mighty agents of change. As we celebrate UN World Toilet Day, let's remember the 3 P's - pee, paper, and poo - are all that belong in the loo. It's time to Think Before You Flush, re-evaluate your flushing behaviour, and protect our toilets and the environment. Each small action can make a significant impact.

How can we do this World Toilet Day?

  1. Put a bin in your bathroom. You can also download some of our Think Before You Flush printable resources and stick them up as a reminder.
  2. If you can, switch to reusable options – items like facial cloths and reusable cotton pads are great alternatives.
  3. Spread the word and always “Think Before You Flush”.
  4. Visit and choose your actions and commitments to solve the water and sanitation crisis.

Join the campaign at and follow @CleanCoasts and @IrishWater on social media.