TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Toilet-Disposed Mobiles Menace Helsinki's Sewers

Toilet-Disposed Mobiles Menace Helsinki's Sewers

Marcus Didius Falco (
Sat, 19 Nov 2005 01:02:09 -0500

Biting the hand that feeds IT
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Toilet-disposed mobiles menace Helsinki's sewers

By Jan Libbenga (feedback at

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.

Helsinki 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 Viikinmki 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 Lundstrm 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.

Related stories

This phone is stolen (28 March 2005)

GSMA declares war on mobile phone theft (26 February 2004)

Mobile phone theft is far worse than we thought (20 February 2002)

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