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London anti-fatberg campaign inspires New York City

  • London anti-fatberg campaign inspires New York City

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Thames Water
Every day, we serve 15 million customers across London and the Thames Valley.

London’s anti-fatberg campaign has been replicated by New York City with the launch of ‘Trash It. Don’t Flush It’.

The Big Apple’s Department of Environmental Protection’s public awareness drive aims to spread the message that draining grease and fat, and flushing wet wipes, can lead to sewer blockages and cause costly flooding to the environment and properties.

It follows the long-running Thames Water campaign, ‘Bin it – don’t block it’, which shot to global fame after news of the monster Whitechapel Road fatberg, weighing 130 tonnes and running the length of two and half Wembley pitches, was discovered in September 2017.

New Yorkers, like Londoners, are being reminded to properly dispose of their ‘trash’ with adverts plastered around the city, including on trains, at subway stations and bus shelters, and on social media on how to prevent fatbergs. Only pee, poo and toilet paper should ever be flushed, with cooking fats and oils always binned.

As revealed last week, Thames Water is currently removing a record-busting ‘Concreteberg’ from under the streets of central London after discovering an industrial amount of solidified cement plugging three Victorian sewers. The subterranean blockage in Islington is thought to be at least 100 metres long and weigh 105 tonnes – as heavy as a blue whale.

Stuart White, Thames Water, said: “Fatberg is a word invented by Thames Water to bring the very serious problem of sewer abuse to life. We created a monster, something to fear, and the word is now known in New York and all around the world, and is even in the dictionary. After last week’s discovery, ‘concreteberg’ could soon be following it.

“It’s great to see our campaign, which has won numerous awards, being replicated on the biggest stage. The more we can get people everywhere talking about what happens next to their waste the better, as the sewers are not an abyss for household rubbish. They serve an important purpose in every town and city – please help us protect the environment by not feeding the fatberg that lurks beneath.”

Thames Water’s long-running and ongoing ‘Bin it – don’t block it’ campaign aims to educate its customers on what should and shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet and sink.

The clear objective is to raise awareness of the problem and help change consumer behaviour, reducing the number of blockages, with 120,000 cleared across the 32 London boroughs between 2016-2018, and total misery of sewer flooding on homes, businesses and the environment.

A recent and significant step forward, inspired by the campaign, is the introduction of a new ‘Fine to flush’ symbol on wet wipe packaging. This tells consumers that the wipe passes stringent flushability industry tests, with clearer labelling also more visible on those that do not.

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