… A personal rant by Julia Waterlow of TTL about the misuse of our sewerage system

Lewesians have first-hand experience of inappropriate materials shoved down our sewage pipes: the closure of Station Street in recent weeks was allegedly caused by bedsheets of all things blocking the underground pipework system.  Although that’s extreme, the day-to-day rubbish put down our foul water system, from toilets and sinks, is pretty gruesome if you’re beach-cleaning along our coasts.

As well as the yuk factor, wet-wipes are a risk to wildlife as creatures mistake them for food. The Marine Conservation Society’s Great British Beach Clean survey reported that the number of wet-wipes on UK beaches more than doubled between 2013 and 2014. ‘This rise in pollution of our oceans and beaches is mainly due to the fact that people want convenience and so many people treat their toilet like a bin’.  Wet-wipes, like nappies, sanitary towels and cotton-buds are designed not to disintegrate in water; even ‘flushable’ biodegradable ones take some time to decompose. The sewage treatment filters don’t always catch everything – though the water companies still ferry tons of waste from the sewage filters to landfill.  Read more…