Eva Irvine, Asset Performance Analyst, explains what she does both at work and in her personal life to prevent pollution and live more sustainability – and shares her top tips with you.
Improving the quality of waterways, beaches and the sea
My role is really important to me as it has a direct impact on improving the overall environmental quality of waterways, beaches and ultimately the sea in the South East region. It includes looking at live and past data in a proactive way to reduce pollution and flooding events. This largely involves analysing pumping station and treatment work data.
By reducing the likelihood of pollution events my team and I are not only preventing the potential for sewage reaching waterways which can affect human health, but we are also preventing ‘unflushable’ items such as wet wipes and other plastics which shouldn’t be flushed from reaching the sea. This is important for protecting our wildlife and preserving marine life for our current and future generations.
Another aspect of my role is reviewing past spills and passing the relevant information on to the pollution team. We also compile the bathing water updates for our Beachbuoy spill reporting tool, which uses a map to indicate local bathing water quality. Improving the level of reportability of events in bathing water areas improves the level of transparency for our customers and ultimately the wellbeing of the communities using those beaches.
I am really enjoying working with likeminded colleagues to resolve complex problems and reaching out to people in the company, especially field staff who can add lots of context and make the analysis a lot easier. I am really looking forward to doing site visits once things return to normal.
Embracing a sustainable lifestyle
Despite the current restrictions, I really enjoy getting outdoors and one of my personal endeavours is to share knowledge about sustainable living.
As we all know, our global environment is degrading at a rapid rate due to climate change and other anthropogenic-related issues, so I want to share a few really easy things which I do to reduce my carbon and ecological footprint from home:
• Cutting carbon – I reduce my corporate carbon footprint by only having heating on in rooms which are occupied, turning off my PC, monitor and lights when not in use and not leaving devices on standby or on charging once fully charged as this wastes energy.
• Saving water and energy – I would recommend taking short showers and only boiling the required amount of water each time you boil the kettle. Turning off the tap when brushing your teeth is another good one – saving six litres of water per minute! In the summer months, reuse water from pans to water vegetables and plants as it’s high in nutrients and shouldn’t go to waste.
• Preventing blockages – I recently learnt from the FOG and Unflushables Team to wipe grease, oil and cake batter from pans before washing them to prevent localised blockages, which can cause flooding and pollution.
• Tackling microplastics – Another suggestion would be to reduce the number of clothes that you buy which are made from polyester as these shed millions of microplastics per wash which can end up in our waterways and in food chains. If you do have polyester clothing you can wash these in a filter bag and empty the fibres into the bin afterwards, it’s that easy!
• Shopping sustainably – I no longer buy 'fast fashion’ which is classed as inexpensive clothing which is mass produced and contributes significantly to climate change, among many other issues. A few other ideas would be to only buy what you need, shop second hand if you can and focus on repairing items rather than replacing them with new ones.
If you would like some more tips or inspiration on the above, I am on Instagram – you can follow my personal account @pathtogreenerliving where I share sustainable tips, discount codes for sustainable brands and run giveaways.