Schoolchildren have been designing posters to highlight the dangers of putting the wrong things down the loo – as part of a major drive to prevent future pollution.
More than 200 youngsters have entered a Scottish Water poster competition to encourage people to think twice about what they put into sewers, following pollution problems in Midlothian rivers.
The entries, designed by children from P4 to P7, all include educational messages from Scottish Water’s 3Ps campaign. It urges people to only put, pee, poo and (toilet) paper down the loo.
Many also included messages and pictures about how putting things like wet wipes and cotton wool down the toilet can block sewers and lead to pollution the, like we have seen in the Mary Burn and River Esk.
Twelve posters have been shortlisted and the judges including local MSPs, local campaigners, the Provost of Midlothian, Councillor Peter Smaill and Brian Lironi, director of communications at Scottish Water will pick their favourites. The public can vote at https://twitter.com/SWsoutheast.
All of the young finalists will receive a Scottish Water water bottle and the top three will receive additional prices including a family pass to Dalkeith Country Park and play at Ryze trampoline centre.
The winning entry will be shown on the large billboard on the outskirts of Newtongrange for a month.
Colin Beattie, Midlothian North and Musselburgh MSP, said: “This competition was a fantastic idea, and I support all efforts to educate future generations about this work. Well done to everyone who entered. I’m just sorry there can only be one winner.”
The campaign has also been backed by Christine Grahame, MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale. She said: “I hope this campaign will encourage local people to think twice about what they flush down the loo, as it really does have a huge impact on the local environment as we’ve seen here in Midlothian.
“I’m delighted Scottish Water are getting local children to design the poster as if we can educate young people on this it will not only set them up with good habits for life but also enable them to spread the message back to their families. I know from experience children often make the best campaigners for changing behaviours.”
Scottish Water staff have visited several schools in Midlothian to engage youngsters on what can and cannot be put down the toilet, as part of a campaign launched by the utility to urge people to stop flushing things like wet wipes, cotton wool, sanitary products and contact lenses down the loo.
They have attended assemblies and visited classrooms with a fun educational presentation about the water cycle. Pupils learned about where the water in their homes comes from and why it is vital we all only put the 3Ps down the loo.
Scott Fraser, regional communities manager at Scottish Water, said: “It has been a joy meeting the youngsters who have been so eager to hear about the water cycle and learn how they can do their bit to protect the environment.
“Their posters are amazing and it is clear the message we are promoting about what should and should not go down the loo has got through. There is everything from a toilet super hero called Captain Flush to pictures of drains and rivers with warning signs.”
Scottish Water staff will continue to deliver talks to around a dozen schools located near areas where a major clean-up of sewage debris has been taking place - the Mary Burn near Easthouses and on the River South Esk at Newbattle Viaduct. The debris which made its way to the burn included a large number of wet wipes and sanitary items. It took weeks for it to be collected by Scottish Water who had to call in experts from Rentokil to help clean up the area.
Scottish Water maintains more than 380 miles of sewer pipes in Midlothian which take waste water away from homes and businesses in the area.
For information on what to flush down the loo go to: https://www.scottishwater.co.uk/you-and-your-home/your-home/keep-the-water-cycle-running-smoothly/know-your-bathroom-checklist