“Unflushables”: Establishing a global agenda for action on everyday practices associated with sewer blockages, water quality, and plastic pollution

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Catégorie : Politiques et Réglementations
Date :16 juin 2020
Avis TSC : Il faudrait peut-être créer une rubrique « Comportement citoyen » pour classer cet article. Il semble que pour beaucoup le « flush » des toilettes ait un côté magique qui fait disparaitre des choses dont on ne sait que faire. Pour certaines matières c’est légitime, mais pour le plastique un peu moins, sauf si c’est du microplastique qui a transité dans notre système digestif. Je vous passe la discussion sur les différences hommes/femmes. Un article ethnographique à savourer tranquillement dans un coin, petit ou non.
Alda‐Vidal, Cecilia; Browne, Alison L.; Hoolohan, Claire.
WIREs Water : e1452, 1-15
The disposal of unflushable products via the toilet is an enduring problem and increasing contributor to environmental and infrastructural challenges such as fatbergs, water quality and plastic pollution. Rising scientific and public interest in “throw-away” cultures, and renewed government pressure for water and sewerage companies to act as custodians of water resources, raises questions about how and why impactful disposal practices occur and what might be done to change them. To date there has been little systematic research on unflushable products, and little is known about the routines and practices through which unflushable products find their way into wastewater systems. This paper reviews social science research including historical, sociological, and anthropological studies of cleanliness and hygiene, as well as sociotechnical approaches to the study of household practices and infrastructures to understand the challenges of unflushables. Based on this research, the paper offers a new conceptualization of the unflushables challenge. We argue that unflushables are a distributed problem, one that is not the direct consequence of either individual behavior, product design or infrastructural decline, but the outcome of myriad social, cultural and material developments in society. These include diversity in “flushing” cultures, gendered expectations in cleanliness practices; the evolution of conventions around cleanliness and hygiene; infrastructural imaginaries and expectations; and political dimensions of infrastructural development and maintenance. We demonstrate how social science research is essential in defining a new global research agenda on unflushables that further aids the design of new intervention and policy pathways.