Flushing hell: new crisis forming in Sydney’s toilets
Sydney residents are being urged not to flush baby wipes, tissues and hand towels down the toilet as shoppers snap-up potty alternatives in the wake of a toilet paper shortage.
Sydney Water spokesperson Jackson Vernon said residents should only flush the three Ps - only pee, poo and toilet paper - as other alternatives can clog drains be costly to repair.
"Even though wet wipes might state that they are flushable on their packaging, the reality is that they don't break down and cause blockages in Sydney Water's wastewater pipes as a result," he said.
"Wipes can cause system chokes and damage to private sewer pipes. One Sydney resident reported a $16,000 plumbing bill to repair her private sewer pipes caused by her flushing wet wipes."
Other products like make-up wipes, baby wipes, cleaning wipes, nappies, female sanitary products, condoms, cigarette butts, cotton buds, dental floss, hair and unwanted medication should never be flushed down the toilet, but should be placed in the bin.
The warning comes as tissues become the latest casualty of the coronavirus hysteria sweeping NSW supermarkets after shoppers stripped toilet paper aisles bare.
The 'panic buying' phenomenon has gripped Australia in recent days amid fears the World Health Organisation will declare coronavirus a pandemic.
In the weeks before a pandemic lockdown, people are urged to store a two week supply of water and food.
Household staples from cans and long-life foods to rice, pasta, toilet paper, sanitary items, hand wash, baby products and even tomato sauce and cat food have been flying off shelves.
The hoarding trend has been put down to "herd behaviour" - the desire for people to not want to miss out on items due to fear.
Pallets of toilet paper were delivered to a Coles Express petrol station in Five Dock overnight where eager shoppers began snapping up the prized items.
One man loaded his van with as many rolls of toilet paper as he could fit, saying he hadn't been caught up in the initial hysteria but he didn't want to find himself short in the bathroom.
"Just in case they run out, I haven't been able to buy any, everyone else is buying it," he said.
Health authorities have also urged people to use a tissue to cover their mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, encouraging people to purchase the item.
The trend comes as six more cases of COVID-19 were confirmed across Sydney on Wednesday night - bringing the number of infections in NSW to 22.
The mortality rate of the bug is 3.4 per cent compared to the SARS epidemic's 9.6 per cent mortality rate.