What damage are wet wipes doing to our beaches?
The Marine Conservation Society are currently petitioning for producers of wet wipes to clearly label their product as ‘non flushable‘. When wet wipes are flushed down the toilet, they do not disintegrate like toilet paper. Our sewage system is not designed for wet wipes so therefore it does not take many wipes to clog up a drain. UK water companies spend over 81 million on blockages each year, 80 % of which is due to wet wipes, nappies and cotton buds. This results in larger water bills for us all.
When it rains a lot (like it does in the UK) raw sewage ends up on our beaches and in the sea which means these wipes are stuck there for a very long time. To make it worse (if possible), a majority of these wipes contain plastic,which obviously has a significant impact on the environment and the marine life as these wipes can be mistaken for food, making its way into the food chain which is not a nice thought for the fish or for us.
According to a recent report by the Marine Conservation Society following their Great British Beach Clean weekend, almost 4000 wet wipes were littering the beaches. This works out at almost 50 wipes for every kilometre of coastline which is a 400% increase from the previous decade.
What is the wet wipe industry worth?
According to findings from Euromonitor International, which is the world’s leading independent provider of market research, the global ‘wipe industry’ is worth more than
3 billion a year.
What can we do to help this problem?
Use hand sanitiser when possible instead of wipes.
Even if the wipes states they are ‘flushable’ do not flush them as they can still cause blockages, put them in the bin.
Non biodegradable wipes are still causing environmental problems in landfills, it is best to use biodegradable wipes when possible. You can purchase biodegradable wet wipes here at Miamama.
Help to look after our environment by taking action today to help reduce the amount of damage these wipes are causing. I know I do not like the thought of my child playing on beaches with washed up wet wipes from the sewers,
Elaine Anderson 03/07/16