As shoppers have been heading to the supermarket in a bid to stockpile toilet paper, people are turning to wet wipes as an alternative in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
The only problem is that products such as wipes, kitchen roll and newspaper don’t break down in water the same way as toilet paper does – resulting in sewer blockages.
Water company Northumbrian Water has shared some shocking pictures (that you probably don’t want to look at while you’re tucking into your breakfast) showing the consequences of flushing wipes.
The company, that serves Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, Durham and parts of North Yorkshire, took to Facebook to remind people about its ‘Bin The Wipe’ campaign.
They wrote: “We understand anyone affected by the shortage of toilet paper in shelves of shops is only improvising, but must warn that wrongful flushing can have devastating consequences! These include:
“Homes being flooded with toilet waste (…this isn’t pleasant at any time but especially now, if you need to self-isolate with #covid19uk).
“Rivers and seas being polluted with sewage, potentially harming and destroying innocent wildlife!
“Not only blocking our sewage network of pumps and pipes, but householders’ plumbing too, causing avoidable plumber callout charges!
“Please make one simple change and put toilet paper alternatives in the bin. Toilets are NOT a bin and sewers are not designed for toilet paper alternatives!”
Despite reassurance from companies such as Kimberly-Clark, which makes Kleenex and Andrex, that 3.5 million rolls of toilet paper are manufactured every single day, people are still taking it upon themselves to strip shelves of the stuff, leaving others without.
A spokesman said: “We make one billion loo rolls a year that’s enough to stretch easily around the country.
“The trucks are going out replenishing stock all the time but the problem is that as soon as it’s going out people are buying it straight away and they just don’t need to.”
If toilet roll wasn’t your main concern, yesterday (21 March) the government promised there would be no shortage of food in the UK.
During a televised media briefing, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary George Eustice explained: “There is more than enough food to go around and our food supply chain is able to expand production to cope with increased demand.
“In the last week sales of some foods have increased significantly and manufacturers have produced around 50 percent more food than they usually would. There is no shortage of food available and more is arriving at shops every day.
“The challenge that all of our retailers have faced is keeping shelves stocked throughout the day in the face of increased purchasing behaviour.”