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Stinger suits and microplastics

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Stinger suit use makes our recreational life more enjoyable by protecting us from nasties like jellyfish, however what’s protecting the jellyfish and ocean from the nasties we produce; microplastics?

Until our local TV station showed the winner of its Marine Video Challenge, I knew practically nothing about microplastics, but this sparked my interest. With over 85% of plastic in the marine environment being microplastic, it’s something I think we should all take a look at.

Facts:

  • Microplastics are small, 5mm or less
  • Primary microplastics are purpose manufactured for use in scrubbing industrial machines, as base material for plastic production or as microbeads in cosmetics from face scrubs to toothpaste.
  • Due to their tiny size, about 50% pass through waste water treatment plants into waterways and oceans!
  • A 2015 study from Environmental Science and Technology found that 8 trillion microbeads were entering the aquatic environment throughout the USA every day!
  • Secondary microplastics are from the breakdown of larger microplastics
  • About 8 million metric tons of plastic enter our oceans from land each year then tides and currents accumulate them into huge zones of ‘gyres’ of floating plastic (one zone estimated to be twice the size of Texas)!!!
  • Degrading plastic releases its toxic additives into the water
  • Microplastics often end up in animal’s tissue through ingestion or respiration slowly making their way up the food chain.
  • Fish is the primary source of protein for 1/5th of the world’s population http://nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/great-pacific-garbage-patch/

A statement from “Ocean Care” says “microplastic is a global environmental problem which has the power to threaten marine life as well as freshwater organisms for decades and centuries and the potential to poison the entire food chain!”

What can we do?

  • Reduce macroplastic input via better waste management
  • Reduce plastic consumption or use plastic products that are recyclable and therefore have an economic value.
  • Avoid single use plastic shopping bags by using reusable ones
  • Avoid products containing microbeads by switching to products made from natural ingredients (http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/natural-beauty-fashion/stories/how-make-microbead-alternatives-home )
  • 2/3 of today’s clothing is made from synthetic materials that can liberate fibers in the washing machine. Consider installing a specialized filter between the discharge hose and waste drain (http://www.environmentalenhancements.com/)
  • Don’t litter! And if you spot anyone doing so, do the world a favor and future generations by picking it up.

If you do the above, you’ll feel as good about yourself as you look in an Exotic Waterwear stinger suit.



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