Our environment - Who or what are The Unflushables?

Southern Water wants to teach you about The Unflushables

If you're a Sussex resident then the buck stops with Southern Water for the supply of water and removal of sewage in your local town. The company is on a PR drive at the moment that's designed to make you aware of.... "The Unflushables".

As the quirky name suggests, these are the items that Southern Water wants you to stop either flushing down your toilet or pouring down your sink. Essentially, it's a short list of the most common thing that cause blocked pipes which can lead to a deluge of raw sewage flooding your home.

What are the items?

The company has teamed up with the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) to educate us locals by pointing out our bathroom and kitchen misdemeanours. The most common items causing the big problem in our kitchens are fat, oil and grease. In the bathroom, it's wet wipes, tampons, condoms and nappies - Yuk!

The campaign informs us that an astonishing 23,000 blockages occur every year on the water network and they say that around 66% (two-thirds) of these are entirely unnecessary as they're caused by us lot chucking all that nasty cloggy stuff away down our sinks and toilets. The sewer network is pretty big; 39,600km worth of big in fact. The distance is virtually identical to the circumference of the earth - That's a lot of pipework to keep clear!

In order to make the campaign a bit less tedious and a lot more fun, the campaign organisers have produced a video consisting of a number of talking household items and appliances. There's Tim the Toilet, Steve the Pink Teddy, Sharon the Washomatic and Josie the Armchair. All of these characters have their own horror stories to tell about all the nastiness that can happen when raw sewage floods our home as a result of our bad habits. One of the nicest things about the video is that the voices all belong to employees of Southern Water giving real-life accounts of their actual experiences on the job.

Teddy bear Steve tells the story of a family who was forced to leave their home after raw sewage caused by a blockage, came up through their toilet and run down the stairs. The ground floor ended up being 6 inches deep in the nasty stuff which resulted in everything getting ruined.

Washing machine Sharon goes on to relay the anecdote of a lady who got similarly flooded out of her home. She was trying to clear up the mess herself and when the team from Southern Water arrived she offered them a brew. On opening the fridge, she found the sewage had found its way into her food. In the video, the dishwasher together with the tea, coffee and biscuit tin all look mortified.

There are several other stories in the video and we won't tell you them all as we don't want to ruin it for you in advance. Suffice it to say, there is a cautionary tale to this. As Sharon points out,

"I think my top tip to anybody would be is, think before you do it and just be aware what you do could affect not only you but your neighbours as well".

Tim the Toilet sums it all up in a pretty blunt way by saying,

"Somebody else's excrement all over your house. You wouldn't want even your own excrement in the house... or your pee... or your used bog paper. And of course the bog paper, it all looks like confetti".

So, with Tim's dire warning fresh in your mind, make sure you dispose of everything in the right way, and if his gruesome words don't inspire you to change your bad habits then nothing will!

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