SwiftComply is pleased to announce that this year’s European FOG Summit is sponsored by Unblocktober – the month-long campaign dedicated to raising awareness in sea and sewer health.
We had a chat with the Unblocktober team on the impacts the initiative has brought so far, and how sponsoring the European FOG Summit 2021 supports the mission behind the campaign.
Why is Unblocktober supporting the European FOG Summit 2021?
FOG is a complicated issue and clearly can only be solved through a collaborative endeavour. That is why the European FOG Summit has been so successful in providing a forum for identifying solutions.
Unblocktober is also a strong collaborative initiative. It encourages organisations and individuals to work together to promote more responsible use of the sewer system for the benefit of all and of the planet.
Campaign supporters include Southern Water, Thames Water, Yorkshire Water, Severn Trent, the Rivers Trust, Pura, SwiftComply, the Water Jetting Association, Miele, and the London Assembly.
As headline sponsors of the European FOG Summit 2021, we are delighted to have the opportunity to help showcase the positive progress made by organisations involved. Sewer abuse is an issue we can only solve by working together.
What makes Unblocktober more important than ever?
Unblocktober is the world’s first month-long campaign and awareness month to improve the health of our drains, sewers, watercourses and seas.
It explains how FOG and plastic waste disposed of in sewers is bad for our communities and for the wider environment. It also invites people to change their habits and encourage others to do the same to help others and protect our planet.
When the drainage and wastewater service provider Lanes Group launched the campaign in 2019, it had a number of interrelated objectives in mind.
We wanted to support utility partners in tackling the damaging and costly disruption to wastewater services caused by FOG. And to warn others of the additional hazards drainage and water utility workers face every day of the week in removing it.
We also wanted to encourage debate, understanding, and action about sewer misuse, because public education is a vital component of a multi-faceted solution to FOG.
People increasingly care about protecting the environment. Unblocktober explains the connections between FOG and other forms of sewer misuse and the environmental pollution that threaten wider ecosystems.
For thousands of people who engage with Unblocktober, it is probably the first time they are made aware that the items they unthinkingly flush down the loo and the FOG they dispose of down sinks threaten wildlife, even in faraway oceans.
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European FOG Summit
Despite the challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2020, the campaign went from strength to strength. 14,500 people pledged to change their bathroom and cooking habits, up nearly 400% in 2019. 200 businesses signed up to support the campaign, an increase of 141%.
Nearly 180,000 people were reached via social media, up 140%. The campaign was covered widely by the media, including the BBC, ITV, national press, regional titles and trade media.
A wide range of influencers supports Unblocktober, including politicians, business leaders and celebrities. What is also heartening is the campaign’s reach – with people and organisations across Europe and North America, in particular, voicing their support via social media.
Now we have the ball rolling, we don’t want it to stop. In fact, we hope this year’s campaign will be bigger than ever. FOG is not going to go away as an issue. The threat to our wildlife caused by pollution and related climate change is growing.
It’s heartening to see, however, that people want to change and to encourage others to change. And Unblocktober, supported by businesses, agencies and individuals alike, can play a worthwhile part in helping them do that.
The European FOG Summit and Unblocktober
The debate at the European FOG Summit represents the cutting edge of thinking on FOG solutions. That’s something that needs to be encouraged and supported.
Unblocktober wants to reflect and support that cutting edge thought in its campaign information and messages. Campaigns are successful because people can get behind solutions that work and make a difference.
The thousands of people who support the aims and values of Unblocktober can take heart from the fact that experts are working hard to find solutions to FOG problems.
On the other side of the coin, Unblocktober is a campaign founded on technical competence. Lanes Group is the UK’s largest independent drainage and wastewater service specialist. Unblocktober can be trusted to base its objectives on practical solutions that attract widespread support.
The outcomes of our sponsorship will, therefore, include greater awareness of the work of the European FOG Summit and its contributors. It will also, we hope, result in new supporters coming on board to back Unblocktober and encourage more people to take FOG and plastic pollution seriously. Then to make the changes – often quite small ones – needed to better protect our sewers, our waterways, and our seas.