Celebrity restaurateur Atul Kochhar has joined Thames Water in calling on people to make sure a fatberg does not ruin their Diwali celebrations this week.
The Michelin-starred chef, who has appeared on Masterchef Goes Large and the Great British Menu, says when preparing food for the Hindu festival of light, oil used for cooking should be disposed of correctly.
New research shows a third of Thames Water customers still believe putting oil down the sink is the best way of dealing with it but the substance can solidify in the sewers leading to costly blockages – similar to the 250-metre long beast found in the sewers of Whitechapel last year.
Atul said: “As a chef I have been brought up to be responsible but when I saw the giant fatberg on television I realised how bad the situation is.
“I really felt for those workers who had to go into the sewers and get rid of this solid mass.
“But many people have been taught that pouring it down the sink is okay and this is behaviour we have to change.”
Thames Water deals with around 75,000 blockages every year which can lead to flooding in homes and the environment.
Rather than being poured down the sink or toilet, oil should be put into a container, such as a glass jar, where it can cool down before being thrown away.
Alex Saunders, Thames Water regional operations manager, said: “People may not realise the impact of putting fat and oil down the sink but it can lead to real problems. If it solidifies and blocks the pipes it can end up ruining celebrations.
“On top of that, if the blockage occurs in someone’s house it could lead to an extremely expensive bill.”
Thames Water’s £11.7 billion business plan for 2020-25 includes a commitment to work with customers to keep fat and wet wipes out of the sewers, helping reduce blockages to 65,000 a year while cutting pollution by 18 per cent.
For more information on how to properly dispose of oil visit www.thameswater.co.uk/be-water-smart/Bin-it