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Marine Conservation Society reveals how wet wipes turn nasty when you flush them

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400% rise in wipes on beaches is putting marine life at risk – and pushing up your bills 

We all love a wet wipe! Wipe the baby’s bum, get rid of the make-up and cleanse, slap on the fake tan –our bathrooms are full of them. But instead of ending up in the bin when they’re finished with – millions are being popped down the pan because of consumer confusion.

That’s because some are labelled flushable, some biodegradable and some need you to read every bit of the small print which most of us can’t be bothered to do. But the truth is, even those labelled flushable are failing to meet the water industry standard, just adding to the nightmare.

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) has today launched a campaign to persuade retailers and manufacturers to clearly label their wet wipe products with a ‘DON’T FLUSH’ message on their packaging so they go in the bin, not down the loo.

“Our sewerage systems weren’t built to cope with wet wipes. When flushed they don’t disintegrate like toilet paper, and they typically contain plastic so once they reach the sea, they last for a very long time. They can cause blockages in our sewers, and then, everything else that has been flushed down the loo can either back up into people’s homes, or overflow into rivers and seas,” says MCS Head of Pollution, Dr Laura Foster.

Flushed wet wipes are a nightmare. It only takes a few to clog up your drains and when they team up with fats and oils they create massive fatbergs in the public sewers – which can be as big as a bus!

The MCS ‘Wet Wipes Turn Nasty When You Flush Them’ campaign highlights the monster issue that flushing unflushables is becoming and urges the public to get behind the charity’s call for better wet wipe labelling.

The average cost to sorting out a wet wipe blockage is around £66. Water companies say there are over 366,000 sewer blockages throughout the UK every year, of which between 50% and 80% are caused by fats, oils and grease, wipes, sanitary waste and other unflushable items. Those figures have resulted in about £88 million being spent annually on sorting out the blockages – costs that will be paid for through higher customer bills.

In 2015, during the MCS Great British Beach Clean, volunteers found nearly 4,000 wet wipes around the UK coastline – that’s roughly 50 for every kilometre cleaned – a 30% rise on the previous year and a 400% rise in a decade.

But wet wipes also pose a massive threat to marine life. Containing plastic, these squares never go away – they just get slowly broken down and become microplastics which are then ingested. Organisms negatively impacted by ingesting microplastic range from the small zooplankton to larger marine animals such as fin whales and they’ve been  found in mussels heading for human consumption.

“This source of microplastic is easy to prevent and we want any product which is being designed to be washed or flushed down the drain to be free from plastics,” says Dr Foster. “Retailers have already recognised the issue of microplastics in face scrubs – designing a product that is guaranteed to pollute the environment isn’t smart. We want to see them changing the labeling so consumers get rid of wipes in the right way and help stop tiny bits of plastic getting into our seas.”

You can support the Marine Conservation Society’s ‘Wet Wipes Turn Nasty When You Flush Them’ campaign by signing their petition for clearer labelling on wet wipes here.

For more from the Marine Conservation Society visit www.mcsuk.org.

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Frontline workers honoured with free dive trip to Yap

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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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Dive Training Blogs

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

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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!

James


Subscribe here: http://bit.ly/DiversReady

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Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email info@diversetravel.co.uk to book your spot!

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