The beginning of October tomorrow signals the start of Unblocktober. Fatbergs pose a major threat to many aspects of our everyday life. As the name suggests, the Unblocktober campaign is focused on tackling the issue of blockages in sewers across the UK and Ireland.
Numerous green campaigns around the world have brought environmental catastrophes caused by human behaviour into the attention of the wider public. For example, alarm bells have been raised regarding the problematic nature of single-use plastics, and the public response has been tremendous. However, the nature of an under-ground environmental issue is inherently problematic. What lurks beneath the surface is often the most sinister threat. Unblocktober seeks to drag the subject from “out of sight, out of mind” to the forefront of public concern.
Our sewers are being subject to levels of stress that they simply weren’t designed to cope with. This comes as the accumulation of decades of irresponsible habits of the public. As the various infographics throughout the article allude to, copious amounts of inappropriate or unsuitable materials are being flushed down our toilets and entering our sewers every day. Out of sight out of mind? Not quite.
Sewer Monsters Lurk Below
Perhaps not literally, but fatbergs pose a monstrous problem. Fatbergs are the result when our improperly discarded wet wipes* (amongst other materials) congeal with FOG (Fat, Oils and Grease) in the sewer. Contrary to belief, fatbergs become almost impenetrability solid and require specialist equipment to be drilled away.
If that wasn’t gruesome enough, fatbergs often grow to be the length of multiple double decker buses which can cause serious problems to the infrastructure of our sewers. Blockages that aren’t treated in time can lead to pollution and foul waste flooding in both our streets and oceans. Not to mention, the cost of taxpayer money in removing these gigantic, solid blobs of human negligence.
Under the Spotlight
The public have become increasingly aware of the problem of Fatbergs in recent years. The discovery of a 130-tonne fatberg in the sewers of Whitechapel two years ago raised alarm bells for many. A chunk of this fatberg is now on display in the museum of London in an attempt to increase public awareness. However, the 75,000 sewers that have to be cleared by Thames Water every year is proof that public awareness still isn’t where it needs to be; and that’s just the tip of the fatberg. Unblocktober aims to draw attention to the fact that Thames Water spend an estimated one million pounds every month in clearing fatbergs from the sewers of London. Just let that sink in.
The campaign simply asks that you avoid flushing 16 common household items into our sewers. We all play a part in helping to eradicate this issue. Click HERE to sign up and find out more.
By treating our sewers properly, we can work together to reduce the occurrence of fatbergs and lower plumbing bills. This is just one of many practices, including the proper disposal of commercial kitchen oils and grease, that can help keep our sewers clean and healthy. For more information and advice on how your kitchen can help make a difference, please contact us HERE.
*For more information on the “flushable wet wipe” myth, click HERE.