Sidmouth is a beautiful seaside resort on the South Devon coast, with a long promenade, ice cream parlours and cafes, impressive sandstone cliffs, a repertory theatre and so much more.
Overlooking the town and the sparkling green waters of the English Channel are pretty gardens which can be reached – provided you don’t get out of breath easily – via a vertiginous wooden staircase. You can take a more leisurely walk along a winding path, but it’s not so much fun!
I’m making it sound a delightful place to visit because it is. Well, on ground level it is. Because up until a few weeks ago a hideous, smelly monster was hiding in the sewers below the town.
It was an enormous fat berg measuring two hundred and ten feet long, created from tons of cooking fat that people had poured down their drains over many years.
The thought of a mountain of congealed fat clogging the sewers is bad enough, but what’s worse was the fact that stuck within the fatberg were thousands of wet wipes that householders had flushed down their loos, despite the many warnings against this practice.
But this doesn’t just happen in Sidmouth.
People (not you, of course!) in your town, city and village are still doing it, as well as all over the UK.
Last month, during a charity litter-pick along the banks of the River Thames, 77% of all the litter items collected were wet wipes. Around 4000 were picked up within a distance of 400 metres (around 1300 feet)!
You’d think everyone would know by now that wet wipes take hundreds of years to break down and when they eventually do, they become environmentally unfriendly micro-plastic pieces.
And ,to borrow an old phrase, “Don’t you know there’s a war on…against plastic pollution?”
Talking of which, I hope everyone who bought Comic Relief Day plastic noses re-cycled them the day after and didn’t throw them in their household rubbish.
Otherwise, one day soon, sewer workers are going to discover one gigantic red nose covered in wet wipes blocking the sewers beneath your streets!