In the United Kingdom, wet wipes will now have 'fine to flush' symbol on them. The water industry said that these wipes have been through strict tests to ensure they won't result in sewer 'fatbergs'. To prove that these products can go through the pipes, the manufacturer will also feature the logo of the water industry on their packaging. Fatbergs are caused by non-biodegradable solid matter like wet wipes, grease or cooking fat; they form large lumps in the sewer system clogging it up.
This will also help consumers know that the wet wipes do not have plastic which breaks down in the sewer clogging it. The industry body Water UK said that they used to cause fatbergs and blockages. The development comes amid concerns about problems caused by flushing away wet wipes. While some are labelled fit to go down the sewer, they don't and result in blockages. Delhi Sanitation Workers’ Deaths: 32-Year-Old Killed Due to Drowning in Sewer in Jahangirpuri, Case Registered.
The manufacturers will now have their wipes tested by WRc, Swindon-based independent technical experts who have created the same standards with Water UK. If the product passes the test they will be given the mark. Each year, the country sees some 3,00,000 sewer blockages which require 100 million (over Rs 9 billion) to be cleared.
BBC quoted Michael Roberts, chief executive, of Water UK as saying, "This is an important step in the battle against blockages. We've all seen the impact of fatbergs recently, and we want to see fewer of them. Improving the environment is at the core of what the water industry does, and the new 'fine to flush' standard that we've created will make it easier for consumers to buy an environmentally-friendly product instead of one which clogs up drains and sewers."
Laura Foster, head of clean seas at the Marine Conservation Society, said, "We know that there is huge confusion for consumers on which products can be flushed, resulting in millions being spent on blockages every year." Earlier this week, a 64m fatberg was found near Sidmouth which is expected to take about eight weeks to remove.