Cleanzine: your weekly cleaning and hygiene industry newsletter 30th March 2023 Issue no. 1058
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UK prepares for giant lockdown fatbergs
With our nation starting yet another lockdown today, BusinessWaste.co.uk is urging closing businesses not to throw oil and grease down the drain and for households to think about what they flush down the toilet.
The organisation is warning that, as many restaurants, pubs, and cafes prepare to close for the month-long lockdown, business owners worried about their uncertain future may look to save a few pounds by illegally pouring waste down the drains.
"Unfortunately we saw it happen during the first lockdown and history has a habit of repeating itself," remarks Mark Hall from waste oil collection company BusinessWaste.co.uk. “Sewer blockages in the UK have got worse over the last six months thanks to Coronavirus. Businesses must avoid putting fats, oils and grease (FOG), food down the drain.”
The coronavirus crisis has taken a terrible toll on communities around the world, and unfortunately, that damage has reached our sewage networks and rivers, lakes and seas too.
Coronavirus fatbergs have been forming at staggering rates across the world as a result of 'unflushable' items and substances, such as food, wet wipes, cotton buds and nappies, being put down our drains on a much larger scale than ever before, where they become bound up with fat, oil and grease. If left, fatbergs can lead to sewage flooding out into homes and the environment.
"Plastic pollution has risen too, with more single-use plastic and disposable PPE being used throughout the crisis, but often not being disposed of correctly," adds Mark.
"Fatbergs and plastic pollution were already two of the most critical environmental issues before lockdown, and sadly the situation has only worsened. The good news is that both problems are completely man-made, which means if we stop and think about what we are doing then we can rid ourselves of this problem."
Recently, a fatberg weighing more than an African elephant has been cleared from a sewer in central London. Our picture, courtesy of the BBC, shows it in situ, beneath Cadogan Place in Belgravia.
Thames Water engineers dealt with the "massive and disgusting" 10-tonne, grease-laden clump, by breaking up it with high-powered water jets. Engineers had to cut through 300 metres of fat and grease to reach the blockage, using small tools and even their hands to clear the fatberg.
5th November 2020