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Cosmetics Europe calls for much needed phase out of microplastics; NGOs see scope for further action



A number of conservation NGOs have cautiously welcomed a call by major industry association Cosmetics Europe to its 4,000 members to phase out the use of solid microplastic ingredients in wash-off cosmetic and personal care products.

Following the announcement, Fauna & Flora International, Marine Conservation Society, and Seas at Risk – three NGOs that are working to tackle the problem of microplastic pollution – shared their thoughts on Cosmetics Europe’s recommendations:

While acknowledging its shortcomings, Dan Steadman, Marine Plastics Project Manager at Fauna & Flora International (FFI), welcomed the statement, saying: “Despite limitations regarding the types of microplastics and products considered, we hope that this public recommendation will be an important first step towards the removal of all types of solid microplastic ingredients from all  personal care and cosmetic products.”

Laura Foster, Head of Pollution at Marine Conservation Society (MCS), added: “Cosmetics Europe’s recommendation is not broad and ambitious enough but it demonstrates a clear willingness to work towards reducing the amount of plastic litter in the marine environment. It represents a logical step, emphasising the widely available alternatives first, towards an all-encompassing discontinuation of unsustainable solid microplastics in personal care and cosmetic products.”

All three organisations believe that the announcement indicates Cosmetics Europe’s willingness to collaborate with the European authorities and international association partners, helping to pave the way for further discussions and progress in tackling this avoidable source of microplastic pollution.

Emma Priestland, Marine Litter Policy Officer of Seas At Risk, explained that more remains to be done: “Plastic has no place in personal care products, and this is a great first step to tackling this source of pollution, but voluntary agreements with a limited scope are not enough. For the next step, it is vital that we secure European-wide legislation to ensure that all plastic is removed from products that go down the sink and into the ocean.”

A global movement

FFI and MCS have been working constructively and successfully with UK and overseas cosmetics manufacturers and retailers (many of which are members of Cosmetics Europe) for a number of years to encourage them to phase out microplastic ingredients. As such, both organisations say they are pleased to see more proactive involvement by Cosmetics Europe, and would welcome the opportunity to collaborate with the association to strengthen and better implement its recommendation in order to level the playing field for all manufacturers of personal care and cosmetic products.

Among the companies that have already pledged to phase out microplastics, there are some that have gone one step further by using broader, more inclusive definitions of microplastic ingredients (without loopholes for unspecified marine biodegradability standards), a wider range of products, and more ambitious timelines within their commitments. These companies can act as industry leaders, demonstrating best practice that the whole industry can learn from.

As well as helping to develop best practice across its membership, Cosmetics Europe is also working to achieve global alignment on the issue. This is very encouraging, especially in light of other positive statements made by trade associations in the US and Canada, and by CIDESCO, the international standard setter for beauty and spa therapy, which has also issued an appeal asking its members to discontinue the use of products containing microplastics.


Frontline workers honoured with free dive trip to Yap



The remote island of Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia is among the few places in the world that remains free of Covid-19 thanks to its ocean border and a strict travel ban that has kept its residents safe.

Nonetheless, Yap has been affected, too. As one of the world’s premier, award-winning destinations for divers, this paradisiacal location in the western Pacific Ocean has had no outside visitors to its rich shores and reef for nearly a year. But while there may be no virus, the island hasn’t been cut off from the economic impact experienced around the globe.

Manta Ray Bay Resort and Yap Divers by A. Tareg

That didn’t stop Bill Acker, CEO and founder of the Manta Ray Bay Resort and Yap Divers, from doing something, though.

Last March, soon after the island went into lockdown, Bill began to realize the effect of the virus on daily life beyond the island. “Yes, we are closed, have no divers, had to send our employees home and prepare for difficult times,” he said. “But we’re lucky in that we have, for the most part, avoided the human suffering and death this pandemic has caused.”

Thinking about the problems faced by his family business, they paled when he compared them to those endured by the healthcare workers who have been fighting selflessly around the clock for months on end for the well-being and lives of others.

“One evening, while checking the news online, I saw pictures of frontline workers who were tending to desperately ill and dying people when families and friends could not be with their loved ones. It was heartbreaking,” he added.

The next day, a meeting was held with the resort’s staff and Bill invited suggestions for ways they could do something to honor healthcare workers. The result was the idea to award twenty divers who are working on the frontline to save other’s lives during this pandemic while risking their own, with a free week at the resort.

Manta ray, Manta birostris, gliding over a cleaning station in M’il Channel, Yap, Micronesia by David Fleetham

Divers around the world who had been guests at Manta Ray Bay in the past were invited to submit the names of candidates for the award by December 31, 2020. “We received nominations for 126 individuals from as far away as Germany, the U.S., Australia and Canada,” he said. “It was not easy choosing the winners but our committee of staff members took on the job and selected the 20 finalists.”

“While trying to choose the people to reward for their hard work during this Covid-19 crisis,” Bill added, “by reading the nominations we saw that every one of the nominees was doing things above and beyond the call of duty. Sadly, we don’t have the finances to offer over 100 free weeks in Yap, but we do want to recognize the contributions all of them are making to our world. So, we are offering the rest of the nominees a free week of diving in Yap which includes room, hotel tax, airport transfers, breakfast, diving and Wi-Fi.  The only requirement is that they travel with at least three other people and stay in two rooms or more.”

“We do not yet know when Yap will open its borders,” said Bill, “but when it does, we will welcome these important guests to Yap to relax and dive with the manta rays and the other beautiful denizens of the ocean surrounding our island home. They are the true heroes of this devastating, historic time and we look forward to honoring them with a well-deserved dive vacation.”

Watch out for our exclusive trip report from a healthcare worker from the UK who is one of the 20 to have been awarded this amazing dive trip!

For more information on Manta Ray Bay and Yap Divers visit their website by clicking here.

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Dream Dive Locker Build Out. Part I: Demolition (Watch Video)



It’s finally here! Time to start building the greatest dive locker the world has ever seen! Part I: Demolition! #dreamdivelocker

This is the first of a series of videos showing the evolution of building out my dream dive locker. My dream dive locker needs to be dive gear drying and storage, dry storage, workshop, office, editing suite, You Tube studio and classroom. That’s a lot of functions for a small space!

The first step is planning out the space and demolishing the laminate flooring. Then I taped up the walls to get a feel for the space. We have a lot of work to do!

But finally we will have a purpose built space to house all of our dive equipment! Subscribe to our channel to follow our progress! 

Thanks for watching, Team!


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This is the perfect start to your 2021 diving season… and at an incredible lead-in price of just £885 per person.

Jump on board the latest addition to the Emperor fleet and enjoy diving the famous sites of the Red Sea with this fantastic special offer. This itinerary takes in the wonderful South & St Johns from 26 February – 05 March 2021.  

Subject to availability – limited flight seats at this price so don't delay!

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email to book your spot!

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