Fight the Fatberg: Preston student's Think Before You Flush vlog shortlisted in United Utilities competition

Responding to United Utilities' call for help in Fighting the Fatberg, a young Preston student's self-made vlog has made the final shortlist in the competition to be the face of the company's crucial 'Think Before You Flush' campaign.

Tuesday, 19th March 2019, 8:47 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th March 2019, 9:53 am
All Hallows pupil, BenHawarden.

Inspired to do something to raise awareness of the damage to the environment and to the sewer infrastructure caused by flushing non-biodegradables, All Hallows Catholic High School pupil Ben Hawarden filmed and submitted his own entry to United Utilities' competition to unearth their Vlogstar 2019 and has made it to the final six.

Launched just days after the North West's largest ever fatberg - an 84-metre, 90-tonne congealed masses of non-biodegradables such as wet wipes and cooking fat which built up in the sewers of Liverpool - the competition encouraged young students to lend their voices to the initiative to get people to think before they flush and possibly win a £250 Amazon voucher, a £1,000 donation for their school, and the chance to become one of United Utilities youth ambassadors.

"We are super proud of him," said Ben's mother, Jenny Hawarden. "Some of the children in the other schools had lots of help [but] he made and edited the video blog by himself. He has highlighted the dangers of flushing wipes [and the impact they] can have on marine life and environmental.

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"A vote would help him immensely," Jenny added. "Go Ben!"

With United Utilities engineers clearing around 25,000 blockages every year at a cost of £10m, Rose Francis, the company's campaigns manager, said: “Even though we have a multi-million pound cleaning programme to try and keep our sewers clear, sometimes the first we know about a problem is when homeowners are impacted by flooding.

"Things like congealed fats, grease, wet wipes and sanitary products which have been poured down the sink or flushed down the toilet don’t just disappear and dissolve – they clump together and cause havoc in the sewers," Rose added. "All too often, we see the misery caused to people when blocked sewers have caused their homes and gardens to flood with sewage."