Clean Coasts, Irish Water and the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) have collaborated to highlight the “Think Before You Flush” campaign on World Toilet Day as they unveil an installation of four toilets with a difference. The toilets will be displayed in Heuston and Connolly stations in Dublin. The collaboration marks the launch of the fourth year of the Think Before You Flush campaign and the installation will be showcased in public locations across Ireland in the coming months.
Students from NCAD Bureau+ worked on the toilets as part of a “Design for Debate” project. Their brief was to bring the issues raised by the “Think Before You Flush” campaign to the public’s attention in a creative way. Each toilet highlights a different element of the campaign, from the size and scale of the problem to the impact our flushing behaviour can have on the environment.
Speaking about the installation of four toilets, Ian Walton, NCAD Bureau+ said, “We have used Design for Debate to provoke conversations around peoples flushing behaviour. Using simple white toilets as a blank canvas, we tasked the designers to respond to the environmental issues created by flushing rubbish into the sewer system. What they have created is four very different pieces, each of which is engaging and hopefully will grab people's attention on their commute. If we can educate even a small percentage of those people and change their behaviours then our job is done."
World Toilet Day is celebrated annually on 19 November and is about inspiring action to tackle the global sanitation crisis affecting millions. In Ireland we are lucky to have a functional sanitation system but for many across the globe this is not the case. It is our responsibility to create and maintain good bathroom behaviour to keep our precious infrastructure running smoothly and to safeguard our environment.
Speaking about the importance of World Toilet Day, Elaine Doyle, Clean Coasts, said, “'The Think Before You Flush' campaign highlights the importance of not using your toilet as a bin. The toilet can be seen as a gateway to the sea. During beach cleans the Clean Coasts staff and volunteers find sewage related waste such as wet wipes and cotton bud sticks, these have been flushed down a toilet and made their way to the beach. This World Toilet Day we ask people to regard the privilege we have that we have access to proper sanitation, unfortunately more than half the world's population do not, and always think before you flush. We are delighted to work with Irish Water and NCAD Bureau+ for World Toilet Day with their reimagined toilets and to get the public talking about the power they hold with a simple flush.'
“Think Before You Flush” is a public awareness campaign about the problems sanitary products and other items can cause in our marine environment and our wastewater network when they are flushed down the toilet. When the 3 Ps (Pee Poo & Paper) are flushed down the toilet they travel along the sewer network to our wastewater treatment plants, where they are treated and the effluent is returned safely to our rivers and seas.
Speaking about the size and scale of the problem associated with flushing the wrong things down the toilet, Anthony Skeffington Irish Water Wastewater Engineer said, ”Everyday people flush thousands of sanitary items such as wet wipes and cotton bud sticks down the toilet instead of simply putting them in the bin. This causes blockages in our network, pumping stations and wastewater treatment plants. These items can also end up on our beaches. We have removed more than 8,000 reported blockages from the sewer network so far this year, dealt with thousands of other blockages during planned work and we have also removed thousands of tonnes of ragging from wastewater treatment plants around the country.
“We are delighted to continue our partnership with Clean Coasts to deliver this important campaign and I would like to commend the students in NCAD Bureau+ on their installation which will really spark the public’s interest in the “Think Before You Flush” campaign and shine a light on the importance of World Toilet Day”.
Whilst “Think Before You Flush” is a national campaign that is promoted across the country, every year we select a number of communities where we work closely with businesses, schools and the community to deliver educational workshops and engage the local residents in the campaign. This year the six “Think Before You Flush” Communities are; Wicklow Town; Dundalk in Louth; Bundoran in Donegal; Sligo; Mallow in Cork and Tralee in Kerry.
For more information about ‘Think Before You Flush’ and the design for debate project please visit, www.thinkbeforeyouflush.org