Many major cities around the world share a common issue: Residents are flushing waste products like cooking oil and wet wipes down their drains, and when these materials meet up in the sewer system, they create a problem that's often too big to ignore. Fatbergs are slimy lumps of congealed grease and garbage that can weigh up to 143 tons. Cities are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to get rid of the nuisances, and in South Australia (SA), a water company has launched a new campaign that aims to prevent them from forming in the first place.
As the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports, SA Water has released a 17-second jingle about what and what not to flush down the toilet. Everything falls into the "don't flush" category except for the "three P's": paper, pee, and poo. You can listen to the full song below.
When people dispose of non-biodegradable items in the toilet, they don't disappear for good. Instead, things like condoms, so-called "flushable" wipes, and sanitary napkins act as magnets for other waste products and eventually grow large enough to create expensive clogs. In Queensland alone, more than 4000 blockages are removed from sewers each year. Annually, dealing with fatbergs costs South Australia as much as $400,000.
South Australia isn't the only region tackling a fatberg problem. Earlier this year, New York City launched its own public awareness campaign about what is and is not flushable. It featured cartoons instead of a jingle, and highlighted four P's (paper, pee, poo, and puke) instead of three.