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Toilet-disposed mobiles menace Helsinki's sewers

Tech down the pan

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More and more mobile phones are turning up in the sewage system of the Helsinki Metropolitan area, according to Helsinki Water, which serves over one million households. It's not known if the phones are purposely or accidentally disposed of, but with 4.8m mobile users in Finland, it's reasonable to expect a certain number of toilet-related mobile incidents.

Helsink Water didn't supply exact numbers, but dropping mobiles down the loo is pretty common elsewhere too. In the UK alone, as estimated 600,000 mobiles are flushed every year. As mobile phones get smaller and smaller, this number will undoubtedly increase, although dropping a cell phone down the pan is still only number six on a list of mobile phone accidents compiled by Swedish retailers. Most mobiles apparently come a cropper as a result of tight jeans.

At the sewage treatment plant in Viikinmäki in Finland, one thousand tons of solid waste, equalling 200 truckloads, is collected every year. Apart from mobile phones, false teeth, toys, cameras and even torches are found.

Those misplaced items are difficult to remove and will eventually cause system blockages, environmental manager Yrjö Lundström warned newspaper Helsinki Sanomat today. According to Helsinki Water, annual waste treatment fees are increasing as a result of the rubbish found in Finnish sewers. ®

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