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New ‘I Don’t Flush’ campaign launched in Ontario

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The Ontario Clean Water Agency and the Clean Water Foundation have teamed up with six Ontario municipalities for a public service announcement (PSA) campaign that aims to prevent residents from using sinks and toilets like garbage cans.

Called ‘I Don’t Flush’, the PSA focuses on the misuse of sinks and toilets for the disposal of pharmaceuticals, personal hygiene products, fats, oils and grease, and household hazardous waste.

For the messaging, the water groups joined forces with the Regional Municipality of York, Region of Peel, Town of LaSalle, Niagara Region, the City of Barrie and the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury.

“Treating your drains like trash cans can have consequences,” Amy Lane, manager of marketing and communications for the Ontario Clean Water Agency, said in a statement. “Imagine coming home to a sewage backup in your basement because your pipes are clogged with grease, wipes or hygiene products,” she added. “The ‘I Don’t Flush’ campaign makes it clear how to protect your pipes and avoid costly repairs and environmental damage.”

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The PSA reminds that even when it comes to items labelled “flushable”, stuffing toilets can still lead to sewer backups, flooded basements and raw sewage discharge into lakes and rivers.

In terms of household hazardous waste, expired pharmaceuticals, medications or vitamins, these items can impact aquatic life and generally contaminate the environment, the groups warn.

When fats, oils or grease are put down the drain, they cool and form blockages, leading to basement flooding and sewage overflows. These clogs can also damage wastewater facilities, and water rates may increase to cover costly repairs.

“The only things meant to be flushed are No. 1, No. 2 and toilet paper,” announced Christopher Hilkene, president of the Clean Water Foundation. “Anything else can directly and indirectly end up polluting our rivers and lakes.”

The campaign is looking to take off on social media under the hashtag #idontflush2019.

The partnership has also released a new awareness video.

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