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Clean Coasts and Irish Water are asking the people of Mallow to ‘Think Before You Flush’

Did you know that 80% of marine litter comes from inland sources? In Mallow we might not consider ourselves coastal despite living in the beautiful coastal county of Cork. However, the majestic Blackwater River that flows through our town is our link to the sea. Any waste that ends up in the river can make it ways to the Atlantic Ocean where the River Blackwater reaches the Atlantic Ocean at Youghal. I work with Clean Coasts and as the name suggests we work to keep our world class beaches clean. We work thousands of volunteers all over the country doing litter picks on our waterways. However not all waste is dropped at source and some may even have been flushed down the toilet. Often on our beach cleans we find sanitary related waste such as wipes and cotton bud sticks, they can arrive in to the oceans and beach through the toilets and pipe network. This waste belongs in the bin and not on the beach. That is why the Think Before You Flush campaign is important. It is important to remember that we are all connected so taking responsible action in the home can make a different to the marine environment.

This campaign run by Clean Coasts in partnership with Irish Water asks you to ‘Think Before You Flush’ and only the 3 Ps – pee, poo and paper can be flushed, everything else such as wipes belong in the bin. This is very important as waste such as wipes don’t break down leading to possible blockages in the household or the pipes in the wastewater network, they can also leech microplastics in to our valuable water system, can be mistaken for food by marine life or end up on the beach as marine litter. The campaign is in its 4th year and runs regionally and nationally. For the 4th year Mallow was chosen as one of the regional towns.

For the campaign we surveyed over 1,000 people and found that 3 in 10 people had flushed waste in error and over half of those did as they didn’t know the impact. We took the 12 most commonly flushed items and we call them The Dirty Dozen. Have you ever flushed any of the Dirty Dozen?

The message is simple, put a bin in your bathroom for bathroom waste, the pipes, water, marine life and beaches will thank you for it.

To learn more about the campaign please log on to for details on our resources or to watch our animations. If you want to find out more about the campaign or alternatives to the Dirty Dozen email me at

We are looking forward to hearing from you and always #thinkb4uflush


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