LONDON — Eight in 10 adults have flushed something they shouldn’t have down the toilet, a recent survey reveals. The study of 2,000 adults found 21 percent have disposed of hair in their toilet, while 27 percent of women have ditched tampons, and 10 percent of all adults have flushed animal waste.
Cigarette butts, make-up, medicine, and cooking grease are among the other things that have ended up down their bathroom drain. Another 12 percent of adults admit that they have also chucked something solid down a drain in the street.
Over half the poll (56%) admitted they had no idea of the impact the items that end up in drains and sewage systems could have on the environment. The survey was released ahead of the launch of documentary series, “Whale with Steve Backshall,” airing on Sky Nature.
“While there are many large-scale issues negatively impacting our marine environments – fishing, entanglement, climate change, ship strike, and pollution, to name but a few,” says Poppy Dixon, director of documentaries & factual at Sky UK, in a statement.
“The findings suggest we may not be aware that everyday actions can also negatively impact our planet. The study suggests why it’s so important for scientists and conservationists, such as Steve Backshall, to take audiences on a journey across the world’s oceans, to demonstrate how our actions and the life quality of our marine animals are more closely intertwined than we may think.”
The study also found 17 percent of those who have put something other than liquid down a drain simply didn’t think it was a problem. For 15 percent, if it was small enough to fit down the drain, they assumed the item wouldn’t cause an issue further down the line.
Despite this, 67 percent wish there was more they could do to protect the world’s oceans and marine life. Two-thirds said they care deeply about ocean animals, and 56 percent worry about future generations.
More than half (60%) wish they’d known more about how their actions can affect the ocean and marine life years ago – and admit they would have done things differently. However, 48 percent said that because they don’t see whales or go into the depths of the ocean, it’s harder for them to understand the impact their life choices can have.
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72Point writer Laura Elvin contributed to this report.