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But while these wipes are often labeled “flushable” by manufacturers, they are anything but and are clogging municipal sewer systems around the country. When too many wipes are flushed down the toilet, they can build up in sewers along with cooking fat poured down the drain, creating blockages called “fatbergs.” These fatbergs have been cropping up with increasing regularity across the U.S., causing headaches for municipalwater management agencies.
They can also be dangerous. In 2017, a fatberg in Baltimore resulted in a sewage overflow. These overflows can cause toxic human and industrial waste to spill into bodies of water nearby, contaminating drinking water and degrading aquatic ecosystems. What’s more, is that this waste problem is avoidable, better education and information for consumers as well as ensuring that manufacturers bear responsibility for their products could help prevent fatbergs.
A Messy Situation:
This issue didn’t start with the pandemic — Americans had already been flushing too many wipes into the sewers. But the problem has intensified since stay-at-home orders have been put in place across the country.
In Des Moines, IO, sewer backups are up 50%, and the city spent over $100,000 over the past year clearing them.
Water resource management experts hope that the issue will improve as people go back to work. In the meantime, cities like New York and Seattle have been calling on residents to “Trash it. Don’t flush it.”
by Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer A new UN report suggests that plastic pollution isn’t just a threat to marine life — it’s also an issue of environmental justice. The report, titled Neglected: Environmental Justice Impacts of Plastic Pollution, highlights that poor nations and communities around the world disproportionately suffer the effects of plastic waste. This […]
President Biden’s new infrastructure plan contains something surprising — funding for “construction” projects to remove highways. Why? Because for decades, Black communities in cities across the U.S. have been cut off and/or divided by highways and major roads that were built without regard to their impact on those neighborhoods.
Why This Matters: Highways built in the 50s and 60s often came at the expense of communities of color. Their impact enforced segregation, disrupt thriving communities, and distanced Black people from city resources and job opportunities.
by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer European Union countries like Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden have been sending millions of tons of trash to be burned in “waste to energy” incinerators. But because of the incinerators’ CO2 emissions and health impacts, the bloc is starting to cut off funding for new plants. This change “comes […]
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