A fatberg in a sewer!
Today is the launch of the “Think Before You Pour” Christmas campaign which is run by Clean Coasts in partnership with Irish Water.
The campaign urges the people of Carlow not to pour fats, oils and greases (FOGs) from the Christmas turkey roast down the kitchen sink.
A recent survey reveals that 58% of the public do pour FOGs down the sink.
FOGs seem like liquid when poured but, once they cool along the pipes, they can cause blockages in homes, businesses, the public sewer network and wastewater treatment plants, and can even lead to overflows of sewage that can damage the environment.
When FOGs combine with wipes and other sanitary items that shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet, fatbergs can form. Irish Water cleared thousands of fatbergs from the wastewater network this year.
Speaking about the campaign Jim Fitzgerald, Irish Water said: "We have cleared almost 8,000 reported sewer blockages already this year caused by FOGs being poured down the kitchen sink combined with inappropriate items such as baby wipes being flushed down the toilet.
"Thousands of other blockages were removed in the course of planned works on the network. This demonstrates the size and scale of the challenge we face to keep the sewer network blockage free.
"Our message is simple. This Christmas we want to remind the public not to use their kitchen sink as a bin. ‘Think before you pour’ and use a GunkPot or a similar container to collect FOGs and help to prevent pipe blockages and protect the marine environment."
Irish Water’s survey reveals that the kitchen sink is often treated as a bin for FOGs, gravy and other sauces, as well as leftover food and scrapings from plates.
The survey was conducted by Behaviour and Attitudes on behalf of the Think Before You Pour Campaign and was based on a nationally representative sample of 1,034 adults.
Speaking about the campaign, Sinead McCoy, Clean Coasts said: "Clean Coasts are delighted to launch the Christmas Think Before You Pour campaign in partnership with Irish Water.
"With sustainability being one of the key talking points this year, you too can play your part to help the environment by thinking before pouring this Christmas."
Keeping a container in the kitchen, such as the reusable silicone ‘GunkPot’, can be useful to collect cooled waste fats, oils and greases. When these items have hardened they can be disposed of in the bin.
Running a hot water tap and using washing up liquid is not the solution as grease and hot water eventually cool down in pipes and can cause blockages in homes, businesses and the sewer network.
As part of the Think Before You Pour Christmas campaign, Irish Water are offering a free GunkPot to the first 500 people who apply. To get your free GunkPot go to www.water.ie/thinkbeforeyoupour follow the link on the page and fill in your details.
To find out more about the Think Before You Pour campaign please visit http://thinkbeforeyouflush.org/think-before-you-pour/
For tips and information on how to avoid blocked drains please visit www.water.ie/thinkbeforeyoupour #thinkb4upour