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  1. ITV Report

Wet wipes nightmare on West Country beaches

Wipes have to be fished out of raw sewage. Photo: ITV News

There's been a 400% rise in the number of wet wipes found on our beaches here in the West Country.

One charity says marine life is being put at risk by wipes which shouldn't be flushed down the toilet.

The charity's ‘Wet Wipes Turn Nasty When You Flush Them’ campaign highlights the monster issue that flushing unflushable wipes is becoming, and urges the public to get behind their call for better wet wipe labelling.

Credit: ITV News
400%
rise in wipes on beaches is putting marine life at risk – and pushing up bills

The Marine Conservation Society has launched a campaign to persuade retailers and manufacturers to clearly label their wet wipe products with a ‘DON’T FLUSH’ message on their packaging so they go in the bin, not down the loo.

Our sewerage systems weren’t built to cope with wet wipes. When flushed they don’t disintegrate like toilet paper, and they typically contain plastic so once they reach the sea, they last for a very long time.

– MCS Head of Pollution, Dr Laura Foster.
Credit: ITV News

But wet wipes also pose a threat to marine life say campaigners.

They can cause blockages in our sewers, and then, everything else that has been flushed down the loo can either back up into people’s homes, or overflow into rivers and seas.

– MCS Head of Pollution, Dr Laura Foster.
Credit: ITV News
366,000
Amount of sewage blockages water companies say there are every year

To spread awareness a pop up wipes 'monster' has arrived on a beach in the West: