Save Our Seas: Supporting Unblocktober 2020

First launched in 2019, Unblocktober is a month-long national campaign to raise awareness around the health of our nation’s drains, sewers, waterways and seas. We proudly supported the campaign last year and we’re continuing our support for the second Unblocktober this year.

In 2019 Unblocktober saw more than 5000 people across the UK pledging to change their kitchen and bathroom habits in a bid to save and protect the environment. This year, we’re hoping for an even bigger and better response to show Britain’s commitment to protecting our waterways and vital sewer system, as well as highlighting that both individuals and businesses can make a difference.

Why is Unblocktober So Important?

Our drains and sewer systems are being destroyed by years of misuse. We’ve consistently been pouring dangerous liquids and other materials into our drains without considering the consequences and long-term damaging impact. Only in the last few years has the average person become aware of the fatberg phenomenon and the very real problem fatbergs are causing beneath the streets. Fatbergs, congealed masses of fat, oil, baby wipes, grease, condoms and many other things we simply shouldn’t put down the sink or drain, have become a serious issue in our sewers. Fatbergs as large as 64 metres long have been found blocking and contaminating our waterways and the wildlife reliant that rely on them. As fatbergs entered the media, more people have become aware of the damage we’re doing and are committed to taking action - that’s where Unblocktober comes in.

Why Should We Care about Unblocktober?

Business owners may think fatbergs aren’t their problem, but that’s not true. When a fatberg grows, it can block the whole sewer and will need removing. This needs specialists and is often a long and drawn out process, including road closures, possibly resulting in limited access to your business premises and interruption to regular working hours, due to pavements and roads being opened up to clear the blockage. It could even mean a loss of water supply, which could mean temporary business closure.

Even if your business is not directly impacted by fatberg removal or flooding, the overall rising cost in water bills is something many will have to face. Raising awareness through campaigns like Unblocktober means more people can take positive action, helping to avoid future issues by working together to change our poor habits.

Look after Our Water to Meet Government Green Goals

The government’s plan: A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment includes some ambitious commitments to ensure our water is both clean and plentiful. Its aims include improving at least 75% of our waters to be as close to their natural state as ‘soon as is practicable’ and the development of ‘super sewers’ such as the Thames Tideway Tunnel.

Modern sewer systems already work hard to manage all the wastewater produced through homes and businesses. They don’t need the additional strain of foreign objects causing build up, blockages and dangerous fatbergs. If this continues, we risk contaminating our waterways, impacting on wildlife and the safety of our water in general. We’ve all seen the pictures of sea creatures injured or even killed by waste products reaching the seas, and we all need to do our part to limit this.

Keep your Drains Clear of Contaminants

Our sewer systems may need upgrading however we also need to do our bit too. Our drains aren’t designed for foodstuff, plastics or grease and oil-based liquids. Take a look at the Unblocktober guidelines and never flush any of these items down the toilet:

  • Cooking oils
  • Butter, margarine and lard
  • Condiments and sauces
  • Food - even crumbs cause blockages
  • Anything containing plastics including:
    • Cleansing wipes
    • Sanitary products - pads, tampons including applicators
    • Nappies
    • Condoms
    • Cotton buds
    • Contact lenses
    • Dental floss
    • Plasters and bandages
    • Razor blades

We highlighted it last year but remember, don’t be fooled by product labelling. Even ’flushable’ wet wipes can take years to breakdown and still contribute to the fatberg problem so avoid putting anything down your toilet or drains which appears on this list.

Hundreds of millions of pounds are wasted clearing fatbergs every year, which is money that water companies could be using to support local businesses like yours. Support Unblocktober 2020 and help keep our water safe and clean.