Clean Coasts and Irish Water Launch Think Before You Flush Campaign

Clean Coasts together with Irish Water are launching the third year of the Think Before You Flush campaign as the utility reveals that there has been an estimated 4,600 sewer blockages across the country this year due to inappropriate items being flushed down toilets.

When the 3 Ps (pee, poo and paper) are flushed down the toilet they travel along the sewer network to wastewater treatment plants. However, every day people flush thousands of items such as wet wipes, cotton bud sticks, nappies and cotton wool pads down the toilet instead of putting them in a bin. Flushing these items can have a negative impact on internal plumbing in homes and businesses, the wastewater network and our marine environment.

This year, 15 communities across the country have been selected to become Think Before You Flush Communities. Clean Coasts together with Irish Water will be delivering educational workshops in schools; promoting the campaign at festivals and community events; and working with local businesses to help to raise awareness and provide advice. 

The 15 Think Before You Flush Communities are; Dublin City; Blackrock, Co. Louth; Navan, Co. Meath; Maynooth, Co. Kildare; Tullamore, Co. Offaly; Cork City; Dunmanway, Co. Cork; Bantry, Co. Cork; Tramore, Co. Waterford; Waterford City; Galway City; Ahascraugh, Co. Galway; Strandhill, Co. Sligo; Bellmullet, Co. Mayo; and Bundoran, Co. Donegal.

The problems wet wipes cause when flushed down the toilet

Speaking about the campaign Corporate Affairs Manager of Irish Water and Engineer Kate Gannon said, “Irish Water is delighted to partner with Clean Coasts on this important educational campaign. Irish Water estimate that there have been over 4,600 sewer blockages across the country this year already. The size and scale of the impact of flushing the wrong items down the toilet is incredible.”

“Irish Water is investing in wastewater infrastructure right across the country. We are building new wastewater treatment plants, upgrading old plants and laying new sewers. However, it is still really important that people recognise the impact of what they flush so the network can function efficiently and effectively. Placing a bin in the bathroom and disposing of sanitary items safely and appropriately has a hugely positive impact on the network and the environment.”

Speaking about the campaign; Sinead Mc Coy, Clean Coasts Manager added, “Sewage related litter is one of the categories of waste we find on our beaches however its presence is preventable through some simple measures. Through this campaign we are working with Irish Water to change the nation’s flushing behaviour which will make a difference to our coastal environment.”

For more information about ‘Think Before You Flush’ please visit

About the Author

Ann Robinson
Has a passion for coastal heritage and maritime history. Loves sharing the best of the Irish coast online. Contact me or follow me on Twitter @AnnRobinson22