Disgusting haul of wipes found alongside River Orwell
PUBLISHED: 14:37 21 November 2019 | UPDATED: 14:37 21 November 2019
JASON ALEXANDER/RUBBISH WALKS CIC
An environmentalist has called for people to ditch wet wipes after finding hundreds washed up on the banks of the River Orwell.
The 'Wildlife Gadget Man' Jason Alexander, 48, collected a monster haul of wipes during one of his routine litter picks to rid Suffolk of single-use plastic - and has now cleared up more than 6,000 from beaches in Suffolk.
Mr Alexander says the issue comes from people not realising the dangers of flushing wipes, or simply being too lazy to bin them.
He said: "It is just so frustrating that we know what the issue is but still have to educate people. And that can come down to sheer laziness or ignorance on the scale of the issue and the damages."
Calling on people to ditch the household wipes and use more environmentally friendly options for cleaning, he said: "There are things in life we don't really need, and things that shouldn't be flushed down our toilets. There are non-plastic alternatives to lots of bathroom products and every house should have a bin in their bathroom."
He also hit out at companies that claim to produce "flushable" wipes, which still contain plastic and clog up sewers.
Mr Alexander previously collected a monster haul of 561 wipes from the banks of the Ipswich river during a single morning last year, and his latest haul came from just one afternoon.
He said: "I saw them all and thought 'here we go again'.
"It has probably been six weeks since my last pick and this just shows it is a major issue."
Anglian Water said they are unsure of the source of the wipes and confirmed they only recycle treated water, and aim to remove wipes as they travel through their network thanks to the Keep it Clear campaign.
A spokesman for Anglian Water said: "We clear 40,000 blockages across our network every single year - that equates to one blockage roughly every five minutes.
"Of these blockages, 80% are completely avoidable but cost us a whopping £19million a year to keep our sewers free of them.
"This money could ultimately be better spent elsewhere. Not only that but blockages can lead to sewer flooding in people's homes and pollution in the wider environment. This is why people should only flush the three P's down their toilet - pee, poo and (toilet) paper."
Campaigners City to Sea estimate 11 billion wipes are used nationwide each year and claim they make up 93% of the so-called 'fatbergs' clogging up our sewers.
The government has faced calls in recent months to ban them entirely.
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