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Yorkshire Water asks customers to make "Unblocktober" pledge to help beat the wipebergs

Yorkshire Water is asking its customers to make small changes to everyday habits and back a month-long campaign which raises awareness of an issue which costs the company £2.4m a year.

Unblocktober has been put together by Lanes Group and is aiming to get as many customers as possible to stop flushing wipes as well as pouring fats oils and greases down the sink, all of which can cause blockages in the sewer network.

Yorkshire Water was on Watchdog Live last week highlighting the problem, with the company called out to 30,000 blockages each year.

To get involved in Unblocktober, which lasts for all October, customers should commit to only putting water down the sink with just the three Ps – pee, poo and paper – going in the toilet.

Yorkshire Water Wastewater Campaign Lead, Adrian Flanagan, said: “Wipes, especially so-called “flushable wipes” are a major issue for us and cause real problems in the network. Wipes contain plastic which don’t break down in the system and after time build up and cause a blockage.

“Unblocktober is a great way to raise awareness and we hope our customers make the pledge."

Michelle Ringland from Unblocktober said: “Unblocktober is all about driving behavioural change - which is a key objective shared by all of our partners.

“We know from our own research that the majority of the public (64%) consider themselves to be ‘very aware’ of what should and shouldn’t go down the drain, and yet almost half (48%) of the nation still pour fat and oil down their sinks - so at this point we need to do more than just raise awareness and educate, we need to change habits.

“Unblocktober is the ideal way of encouraging people to make a series of small, achievable changes to their behaviour that will make a big difference to the environment.”

Helen Wakeham, Deputy Director of Water Quality at the Environment Agency, said: “Most people agree that water is a precious resource but too often we take it for granted. What we do at home can have a direct effect on the rivers, lakes and beaches we all care about.

As part of the Love Water campaign we are urging people to use water wisely, protect water quality and think before pouring cooking oil down the drain or flushing a wet wipe away. By taking these simple steps, we can all play our part to  reduce blockages of drains, as well as pollution of our rivers and seas.”

To register to take part in Unblocktober, visit www.unblocktober.org and for more information on what Yorkshire Water is doing to combat blockages, go to www.yorkshirewater.com/blockages