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Marine Life & Conservation

A Christmas facial – a treat for your skin but a disaster for our seas, say the MCS

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Lots of people will treat themselves to some extra beauty therapies over the festive period, or give facial products as a pampering gift – but although these items may make our skin look and feel good, they’re giving our seas anything but a make-over.

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and Fauna & Flora International (FFI) are warning shoppers that many personal care products like scrubs and peels now contain plastic particles, and these can have a devastating effect on the marine environment.

Every time we exfoliate or peel off dead cells with many of the leading scrubs and washes, and then rinse them off, the tiny bits of plastic go down the drain and that means we are flushing plastic into our seas where it contributes to a growing problem of plastic pollution.

Dr Sue Kinsey, MCS Litter Policy Officer, says: “It’s incredible how many everyday products contain microplastic beads. These find their way through our sewers and into our seas where they are easily eaten by all sorts of marine animals and could ultimately end up back in the human food chain. These bits of plastic are so small that our sewage works cannot deal with them, so when used they are essentially washed straight to river and sea”.

Although a number of leading manufacturers of beauty products have already stopped or have promised to phase out the use of microbeads in peels, scrubs and washes, (including Unilever, Lush and the Body Shop), many firms are still using them.

MCS and FFI say shoppers can play an important role in helping to put pressure on manufacturers who are dragging their feet over the issue of microbeads in their products. Consumers can check out those products already free of beads by using the Good Scrub Guide, which can be found here.

Tanya Cox, FFI’s Marine Plastics Officer, says: “Microplastic pollution is having a profound impact on the health of our oceans and demands urgent attention. FFI is really encouraged to see leading UK retailers and producers of personal care products proactively replacing damaging microplastic exfoliants with biodegradable alternatives and urge all companies to take such positive action to minimise this source of microplastic pollution”.

MCS and FFI will be working together closely in the New Year to champion positive action on behalf of forward thinking, UK companies who actively remove microplastics from their product lines. Together, MCS and FFI will use the Good Scrub Guide and supporting smartphone App – the Beat the Micro Bead App – to illustrate the number of plastic-free face scrubs available on the UK market to help keep Britain’s consumers informed at each step of the way.

MCS and FFI encourage consumers to help populate the Good Scrub Guide and the App by by letting them know which of your favourite products do and don’t contain plastic. Those with plastics will have some of these ingredients listed:

Polyethylene / Polythene (PE)

Polypropylene (PP)

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)

Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA)

Nylon

When you’ve spotted these in the ingredients list, all you have to do is fill in a simple form which can be found here and MCS will do the rest.

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The Ocean Cleanup to Complete 100th Extraction Live from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

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the ocean cleanup
  • The Ocean Cleanup marks 100th extraction of plastic pollution from the Pacific Ocean by livestreaming entire cleaning operation from start to finish.
  • Occasion brings together supporters, partners, donors and followers as the project readies its cleanup technology for scale-up.
  • Founder and CEO Boyan Slat to provide insight on the plans ahead.

The Ocean Cleanup is set to reach a milestone of 100 plastic extractions from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Extraction #100, scheduled for 28 or 29 May 2024, will be the first ever to be livestreamed direct from the Pacific Ocean, allowing supporters and partners around the world to see up close how the organization has removed over 385,000 kilograms (nearly 850,000 lbs) of plastic from the GPGP so far – more than double the bare weight of the Statue of Liberty.

the ocean cleanup

The mission of The Ocean Cleanup is to rid the oceans of plastic. To do this, the non-profit project employs a dual strategy: cleaning up legacy floating plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (the world’s largest accumulation of floating plastic), while stopping the flow of plastic from the world’s most polluting rivers.

The Ocean Cleanup captured its first plastic (the first ‘extraction’) in the GPGP in 2019 with System 001, following years of trials and testing with a variety of concepts. Through System 002 and now the larger and more efficient System 03, the organization has consistently improved and optimized operations, and is now preparing to extract plastic trash from the GPGP for the 100th time.

the ocean cleanup

Extraction #100 will be an interactive broadcast showing the entire extraction procedure live and in detail, with insight provided by representatives from across The Ocean Cleanup and partners contributing to the operations.

This is an important milestone in a key year for The Ocean Cleanup.’ said Boyan Slat, Founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup. ‘We’ve come a long way since our first extraction in 2019. During the 2024 season, with System 03, we aim to demonstrate that we are ready to scale up, and with it, confine the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to the history books.

the ocean cleanup

The livestream will be hosted on The Ocean Cleanup’s YouTube channel and via X. Monitor @theoceancleanup for confirmed timings.

www.theoceancleanup.com

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Marine Life & Conservation

Dive with a Purpose: Shark Guardian’s Expedition Galapagos

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Shark Guardian has just unveiled their largest and most exciting expedition yet: a seven-night, eight-day adventure in August 2026 aboard the Galaxy Diver II, a state-of-the-art
vessel specifically designed for divers exploring the enchanting waters of the Galapagos
Islands. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to engage deeply with marine
conservation in one of the world’s most revered diving destinations.

Shark Guardian is a UK registered charity dedicated to protecting sharks and marine
ecosystems worldwide. Founded by marine biologists and conservationists, Brendon
Sing and Liz Ward-Sing, Shark Guardian leads educational programs, research projects,
campaigns and expeditions aimed at fostering a better understanding and respect for
marine life. Their work spans several continents and focuses on direct action,
education, and advocacy.

Shark Guardian’s ethos revolves around the concept of “diving with a purpose.” This
philosophy underscores the importance of not just experiencing the wonders of the
underwater world but actively learning and contributing to its preservation. Participants
in Shark Guardian expeditions engage in citizen science projects, which involve
collecting data that supports ongoing research and conservation efforts. These
activities empower divers to make a tangible difference, turning each dive into an act of
conservation.

One of the newer additions to the Galapagos diving scene, the Galaxy Diver II, is
specifically tailored for divers. Its design prioritises comfort, safety, and environmental
responsibility. The vessel boasts modern amenities, spacious dive decks, and the latest
navigational technology, ensuring that every dive is not only memorable but also has
minimal environmental impact.

A highlight of this expedition is the opportunity to dive at Wolf and Darwin islands,
renowned for their vibrant, untouched marine ecosystems and as a haven for large
pelagic species. These islands are famous for their schools of hammerhead sharks,
whale sharks, and manta rays, offering spectacular diving that attracts enthusiasts from
around the globe.

Shark Guardian have developed this trip to ensure a hassle-free experience. The
expedition package also includes internal flights from Quito, Ecuador, to the Galapagos,
plus accommodation in Quito before and after the trip. This allows divers to relax and
enjoy the experience without worrying about logistics.

Participants will join a diverse group of passionate divers and conservationists. This trip
offers a unique opportunity to network with like-minded individuals who are eager to
learn about and contribute to marine conservation. It’s a chance to share experiences,
knowledge, and a commitment to protecting the marine world.

sharks

Shark Guardian is offering an early bird price available until May 31st 2024. This special
rate provides a fantastic opportunity to secure a spot on this exclusive expedition at a
reduced cost. Availability is limited, so interested divers are encouraged to act quickly
to ensure they don’t miss out. All the details can be found on their WeTravel page, where
bookings can be made easily and payment instalments are available.

Expedition Galapagos, aboard the Galaxy Diver II offers more than just a diving
holiday—it is an investment in both personal and planetary well-being. By participating,
divers not only witness the majesty of one of the world’s premier diving locales but also
contribute to its preservation for future generations.

Find out more about Shark Guardian at www.sharkguardian.org.

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Experience the Red Sea in May with Bella Eriny Liveaboard! As the weather warms up, there’s no better time to dive into the crystal clear waters of the Red Sea. Join us on Bella Eriny, your premier choice for Red Sea liveaboards, this May for an unforgettable underwater adventure. Explore vibrant marine life and stunning coral reefs Enjoy comfortable accommodation in our spacious cabins Savor delicious meals prepared by our onboard chef Benefit from the expertise of our professional dive guides Visit our website for more information and to secure your spot: www.scubatravel.com/BellaEriny or call 01483 411590 More Less

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