Keynsham Voice February Column, Think before you flush

In case you missed the Keynsham Voice this month you can read our column here:

Blue Planet II reminded me why I was motivated to form Keynsham Wombles back in 2012. Transition Keynsham showed a film called ‘Message in the Waves,’ my first exposure to the horrific problems caused by plastic pollution in our oceans. It showed me that entire species of birds (and other animals) are at risk of extinction because we don’t dispose properly of the plastics we produce.

My life hasn’t been the same since, but I’ve been thrilled to discover many people in Keynsham who care as deeply as me, and who have been helping clear litter from our community ever since. Over time, Keynsham Wombles’ work has expanded. Now, we don’t just pick up litter, we’re actively working to prevent it being dropped in the first place.
I believe there are two types of people who cause litter: those who do it on purpose, and the ‘unintentional litterers.’ This second group are easier to reach because they are unaware that they are causing harm. For example, when I was a child my mother said I could throw paper hankies in the bushes. Nowadays that’s not true, because tissues contain plastic fibres.

Whenever there’s heavy rainfall in our park, one of the drain covers regularly bursts, spewing out wet wipes, tampons, panty liners etc, which had been flushed down toilets in our community. The ones I don’t catch with my litter grabbers go into the river and straight out to sea.

I recently watched a TedTalk by Natalie Fee of City to Sea, a Bristol based organisation who have successfully campaigned for cotton buds to be made with paper rather than plastic. She gave her talk sat on a toilet, demonstrating the direct connection between our toilets and the sea.

There is no magic filter that automatically removes items from the waste stream. Anything flushed down your toilet has the potential to block drains, harm fish and birds in the sea, or even end up on display in our park – so please, remember the three P’s (pee, poo and paper!) and think before you flush.

Published in Keynsham Voice, February 2018,


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