The BBC reported today that Thames Water removed enough fat to fill nine of London’s iconic double-decker buses. The massive and messy clean-out project occurred in pipes under Leicester Square, and was the largest of its kind. The estimated 1000 tons of petrified fat are the unfortunate result of people pouring cooking fat down the drain. The fat-blockage has lead to flooding in 7,000 London homes yearly.
“We’re used to getting our hands dirty, but nothing on this scale,” said Danny Brackley, one of the water company’s sewer flushers. “We couldn’t even access the sewer as it was blocked by a four-foot wall of solid fat.” The members of the clean up crew were equipped with shovels and full breathing apparatus.
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The U.K. government is cutting its $120 million Change4Life public service campaign in an effort to reduce spending. They’re asking marketers to take on the duty of educating the public about the health-risks of obesity in exchange for limiting new regulations of food marketing. Proposed regulations include a ban on TV advertising of foods high in salt, fat and sugar before 9:00 p.m.
Ad Age reports that the move is part of a larger attempt to cutback on government marketing expenses; the U.K.’s government is the biggest-spending advertiser in the U.K., followed by Procter & Gamble. Although the budget cut my adversely affect advertising agencies, many marketers welcome the promise to limit regulation of food and drink marketing. Some have also been positive about the opportunity to have a voice in the new approach to public heath.
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So, you think we need to worry about terrorism… try thinking about obesity as the biggest threat to your “security.” That’s not me speaking, it’s the warning of British public health expert Professor David Hunter. As outlandish as it may sound, there may be some sound advice in it all. Hunter warns that the British National Health Service could be seriously overwhelmed by sick citizens.
“The threat to our future health is just as significant as the current security threat,” says Hunter.
One would presume that the English are more open to government intervention on these issues, since there isn’t such a knee-jerk reaction as there is over here, but that’s just a hunch. The article on the BBC website goes into more detail on some of his suggestions for combating the threat that could double the amount of diabetics their healthcare system will have to deal with by 2025.