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No One’s Watching What You Throw Down The Toilet But Someone’s Paying The Price

No One’s Watching What You Throw Down The Toilet But Someone’s Paying The Price

What seems like a small act in the privacy of your bathroom can have far-reaching implications.

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In the hallowed privacy of our bathrooms, we all have our little secrets. Some might belt out an impromptu concert in the shower, while others debate the profound questions of life seated on the porcelain throne. However, there are those among us who might be unknowingly wreaking havoc with every flush.

Let’s address the elephant in the room (or should I say the bathroom) – Malaysians are known for many things, but perhaps not for their stellar toilet etiquette. Sure, we might not be the epitome of politeness when nature calls, but there’s a line that even the most laid-back bathroom-goer shouldn’t cross.

So, are you one of those people who toss more than just toilet paper into the abyss?

READ MORE: The Asian Squatting Way Of Using Toilets Is Actually Better Than Sitting

READ MORE: Washing With Water Is Better Than Using Tissue: American Scientists Just Figured This Out

The Journey of Unflushables

(Credit: Drazen Zigic via freepik/Miriam Alonso via Pexels)

So, you flush a sanitary pad, paper towels, or antibacterial wipes down the toilet, bidding them farewell with a press of the flush button. Little do you know, you’ve just initiated a complex journey for these unflushables through the sewerage system.

According to Indah Water Konsortium’s (IWK) Head of Operations and Maintenance, Ir Hussain Omar, it’s important to be mindful of what is disposed of in toilets and even sinks.

Items such as sanitary pads, cigarettes, oil, grease, and plastics can cause harm to the overall functioning of the sewerage system; potentially leading to blockages and disruptions in the treatment processes.

Ir Hussain Omar, Head of Operations and Maintenance, IWK.

As these items traverse the pipelines, they may seem to disappear from sight, making their way down the toilet bowl. However, the real drama unfolds beyond our view. Diapers, sanitary pads, and other unflushables don’t dissolve like toilet paper. Instead, they become covert culprits, causing mayhem as they journey further.

The first impact occurs downstream from your bathroom, where these unflushables can accumulate and form troublesome blockages. This obstruction not only disrupts the normal flow of wastewater but can lead to unpleasant consequences, like sewerage backups or overflows.

Consequences of Unflushables

(Credit: 99paginas/aleksandarlittlewolf via freepik)

A sewerage backup or overflow can result in a cascade of consequences, from immediate health hazards to long-term environmental and sewerage infrastructure damage. 

Contaminated water entering living spaces poses a significant health risk, while the release of pollutants into water bodies and soil harms ecosystems. Structural damage to buildings and sewerage infrastructure, along with disruptions in services, add financial burdens to communities. 

In essence, what may seem like a small act in the privacy of your bathroom can have far-reaching implications, impacting public health, the environment, and community well-being.

The 3D Jobs of IWK Maintenance Workers

(Credit: Indah Water via Facebook)

Now, let’s shift our focus to the unsung heroes grappling with the aftermath of our flushing blunder – IWK maintenance workers. 

These dedicated individuals engage in what are known as 3D jobs: dirty, dangerous, and difficult tasks that go beyond the call of duty to keep our sewerage systems functioning seamlessly.

Maintaining the sewerage infrastructure is no simple feat. Beneath the surface lies a vast and intricate network, presenting challenges that come with significant risks. As pointed out by Ir Hussain, this 3D job is no walk in the park.

This includes dealing with substances in the sewerage system that are not only unclean but potentially hazardous. Working in environments where machinery, chemicals, and confined spaces pose serious threats becomes part of the job.

(Credit: Indah Water via Facebook)

On top of that, there’s the daily confrontation with physical and technical challenges as IWK workers navigate through sewerage networks and manage complex machinery. The 3D job is indeed a demanding journey with its share of complexities and risks.

Yet, someone has to take up the mantle, and it is our dedicated IWK maintenance workers who step into these challenging roles. 

IWK maintenance workers find themselves knee-deep in the consequences of unflushables. They’re the ones tirelessly clearing blockages caused by flushed diapers, grappling with the remnants of chemicals, and navigating through the mess of fats, oils and grease (F.O.G).

It’s not a glamorous job, but it’s an indispensable one for maintaining public health and preserving the integrity of our environment.

Curious about how the IWK team clears blocked sewer lines?

(Credit: Indah Water via Facebook)

They start by identifying the nearest unblocked sewer line, then proceed to clean the sewer line from stones, dirt, and more. The IWK team uses a water jetter, inserting it from the unblocked sewer line directly into the section of the line that is blocked with F.O.G.

The smell is, as you would imagine, terrible. But that’s what the IWK team has to face to carry out their duties. These workers, often unseen and underappreciated, wade through the murky waters of 3D jobs to ensure that our sewerage systems operate efficiently. It’s a relentless battle against the repercussions of thoughtless flushing, and IWK maintenance workers are on the front lines.

So, the next time you contemplate the fate of your flushed items, think twice.

(Credit: Indah Water via Facebook)

Spare a thought for those who keep the sewerage systems flowing smoothly, dealing with the aftermath of our unflushable choices. Let’s collectively adopt a bathroom etiquette that extends beyond these private spaces, respecting the IWK heroes working to keep our sewerage systems in check.

A little consideration goes a long way, even in the seemingly solitary confines of your bathroom!

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