The RNLI joins forces with South West Water - think before you flush

Lifeboats News Release

The RNLI joins forces with South West Water to encourage coastal communities to think before they flush

RNLI

RNLI delivering beach safety messaging

The RNLI and South West Water are teaming up in a bid to encourage coastal communities across Devon and Cornwall to turn their attention to what is going down their drains and loos ahead of the summer season.

Every year RNLI lifeguard teams carry out pre-season activity, visiting schools, local businesses and key coastal locations to share water safety advice and education. Part of this activity involves visiting local businesses such as cafes, pubs and holiday parks to ask them to help the charity spread key water safety messages in their communities and save lives by becoming local ambassadors.

This year, alongside the water safety messaging will be information from South West Water about what can and can’t go down customers’ drains and loos. Lifeguards will be distributing a range of useful materials to businesses who want to help ‘Stop the Block!’

South West Water removes over 450 tonnes of unflushables such as wet wipes, sanitary products and cotton pads from its network each year, the equivalent of 30 double decker buses. Alongside increasing the risk of flooding and damage to customers’ homes and properties, this can also cause harm to the environment.

Steve Instance, RNLI Water Safety Lead, said: “The RNLI have strong relationships with the communities close to the beaches we operate on. It’s an important route for us to communicate the beach safety messaging that sits at the heart of what we do.

“The South West is home to some of the finest beaches in the country and we are keen to do everything we can to help keep them safe and clean. That’s why we are working with South West Water to spread information to beach communities about what we can and can’t put down our loos and drains.”

Andrew Blake, South West Water’s Sewer Network Protection Team Manager, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with an organisation such as the RNLI who share our values and passion for supporting coastal communities. Every time a wet wipe is flushed or cooking oil is poured down the sink the end result is pollution of some form. We can address this by all working together, and in partnership with local businesses and community groups.

“Small changes to the way we do things, like disposing of wet wipes, nappies etc. into the bin, instead of people flushing them down the toilet, can have a really big impact, reducing blockages and improving water quality."

As local ambassadors, businesses can help be the eyes and ears in the community by helping the RNLI share important water safety messages with more people. This could involve putting up posters to highlight local hazards, including tide times on notice boards or menus, or pledging to have meaningful conversations with customers on how to stay safe at the coast.

For the first time, 100% of the classified bathing waters in the South West have passed their stringent standards, with 98% rated as or ‘Good’ or ‘Excellent’, compared to c.28% in 1991.

To find out more visit https://rnli.org/support-us/volunteer/volunteering-opportunities/rnli-local-ambassador

South West Water is also asking customers who spot anything they think could be a sewage leak or pollution across Devon or Cornwall to get in touch so it can be investigated as a priority. Customers can call 0344 346 2020 or visit www.southwestwater.co.uk/advice-and-services/your-wastewater/reporting-a-suspected-pollution/

ENDS

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For more information on the RNLI please visit rnli.org. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI News Centre rnli.org/news-and-media

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 143,100 lives.

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.

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