Beach Whistles: Foolishly Flushed Tampon Applicators

Flushed non-biodegradable plastic tampon applicators known colloquially as “beach whistles” are washing up on our seashores. That’s just disgusting, period.

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(image via: SurfinSafari)

You know an item’s become a bit too commonplace when it acquires its own nickname, and when said nickname is grossly contrary to said item’s original function, you just might have a problem on your hands… or in the case of improperly disposed-of plastic tampon applicators, on your formerly scenic ocean shores. They don’t call ’em “beach whistles” for nuttin’, honey.

Tampon applicators aren’t meant to be flushed but that doesn’t stop it from happening. Considering the procedure involved in their use (which we won’t get into here) and the location within the home, hotel and/or rest stop where the procedure proceeds, one might say improper tampon applicator disposal is an accident waiting to happen.

(image via: jessie_st.amand)

And happen it does, with surprising regularity. “We literally have tens of thousands of these beach whistles lying in the rip-rap around the lagoons,” according to a longstanding employee at the Everett (Washington) Water Pollution Control Facility, “And tens of thousands more get screened out of the composted biosolids when we dredge the lagoons.” Untold numbers more make it past the filtering process entirely, especially in locales where the sewage treatment plants aren’t up to sniff, er, snuff. Here’s a video look at the end result (some outtakes above), put to music for some unknown reason.

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