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Don't flush - just because it says flushable, it doesn't mean you should
Urging people to take a closer look at their personal hygiene disposal habits, the Ontario Clean Water Agency and the Clean Water Foundation - together with the Regional Municipality of York, Town of Mississippi Mills, Niagara Region, City of Barrie and Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury - have teamed up to launch the I Don't Flush 2016 public awareness campaign on personal hygiene products.
The campaign includes Public Service Announcements that urge the public not to flush personal hygiene products - even when labelled 'flushable'.
Some $250+ million is spent each year in Canada removing rubbish from the sewer systems. According to data from those who look after the wastewater collection and treatment system and depending upon the locality, this rubbish comprises around 30% - 50% paper towels (c-fold paper towels, household paper towels, and other similar products), 5% - 14% household cleaning wipes, 10% - 18% feminine hygiene products, 8% - 12% flushable wipes, 18% - 50% babywipes and 7% 'other' (for example cotton buds and dental floss).
Worryingly, 72% of all homeowners admit to flushing items down that toilet that should be disposed of in another manner.
The campaigners are arguing that just because it has 'flushable' on the packaging, it does not mean that it should be flushed. "Everything we deposit into a toilet needs to be removed at a wastewater treatment facility before it gets back into our water environment," they warn. "Because our sewers are not perfect, we also see more and more garbage ending up in our waterbodies.
"A toilet is not a garbage can! It is not the place to dispose of wipes, dental floss, cotton swabs, make up pads, grease, condoms, feminine hygiene products, cell phones or goldfish. What goes down the drain will eventually end up in our lakes and rivers. Let's work together to keep our water clean and healthy."
Image: An Ontario Clean Water Agency Wastewater operator cleans up non-flushable debris, showcasing why the I Don't Flush 2016 public awareness campaign is necessary.
2nd June 2016