Winnie the Pooh teddy among objects found in Scottish sewers
- 17 February 2014
- From the section Scotland
A large Winnie the Pooh teddy, a bike, a fax machine, jeans and a snake were among a host of bizarre items found in Scotland's sewers last year.
Scottish Water said it dealt with more than 40,000 blockages in the drains and sewer network.
Most were caused by people putting things such as cooking oil, nappies and baby wipes down sinks and toilets.
It is running an awareness campaign to highlight the issue, which it said creates costs of more than £7m a year.
A series of television and radio adverts will urge householders to dispose of kitchen and bathroom waste responsibly.
The adverts will also highlight the importance of saving water by doing simple things such as turning off taps while brushing teeth.
Scottish Water said cooking fat, oils and grease coupled with bathroom waste such as cotton buds, nappies and baby wipes created "a perfect storm of solidified fat and material that cannot break down easily in large clumps beneath Scotland's streets".
It warned the blockages can often lead to flooding and expensive repairs.
Chris Wallace, of Scottish Water, said: "The waste water drain which runs from your house to the public sewer is usually only about four inches wide, which is less than the diameter of a DVD.
"This drain is designed to take only the used water from sinks, showers and baths and pee, poo and toilet paper from the toilet."
The firm has also released a list of some of the more unusual items discovered in the sewer network.
Some of these - including mobile phones, jeans, false teeth, pants and toy action figures - were flushed down toilets.
However, other more bulky items - including a pink ladies bicycle, a fax machine and a large Winnie the Pooh teddy found in East Kilbride in South Lanarkshire - had been dumped down manholes.
The Scottish Water campaign to tackle blockages and encourage more responsible waste disposal also involves leaflets and school visits in the Stirling and Dumfries areas and will run for seven weeks.
Iain Gulland, director of Zero Waste Scotland, said: "I welcome the launch of this new initiative by Scottish Water to raise awareness of how to keep the sewer system clear of waste.
"Waste is a resource and there are significant environmental and economic benefits for Scotland if we work together to manage it more efficiently."