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Meet Wallace the wet wipe monster at TideFest this Sunday



The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is bringing Wallace, its huge inflatable monster made out of wet wipes, to TideFest this Sunday 10 September. TideFest is the riverside event celebrating the recreational importance of the Thames Tideway to Londoners.

Wallace’s appearance comes as MCS reveals that 83% of UK public questioned, in a YouGov poll for the charity said they’d like to see the word ‘flushable’ removed from all wet wipe packaging, if the wipes didn’t meet water industry standards for what can be safely flushed down the toilet without causing blockages.

MCS says that the number of wet wipes found on UK beaches has increased by almost 700% over the last decade. The little squares are commonly used in the bathroom to remove makeup, clean up babies’ bottoms and wipe toilet seats – once used they’re then often, mistakenly, popped down the pan and flushed.

MCS has been touring Wallace around coastal resorts over the past year to help explain to the public the financial and environmental cost of putting the wrong stuff down the loo! The bespoke art installation, made out of wet wipes, inflates from a very small pile of wipes on the sand to a 8m wide x 3.5m tall monster.

MCS Head of Pollution, Dr Laura Foster, says Wallace has really helped highlight the damage associated with flushing wet wipes: “We’ve been campaigning for retailers to stop misleading the public by labelling wet wipes as flushable, because they’re known to be failing the water industry standard for what can be safely flushed. So far no wet wipes have passed this ‘flushability’ test and that’s why we will be asking everyone at TideFest to remember that all wet wipes belong in the bin.”

MCS says its poll shows that people don’t want to be misled at the point of purchase. “Telling consumers something is flushable gives them permission to flush it. But it’s clear that the public don’t want to be putting stuff down the loo if it’s not actually flushable. Removing the claims or re-labelling ‘not flushable’ would be an easy win for our oceans,” says Dr Foster.

Thames Water, who is funding Wallace’s appearance at TideFest has 108,000km of sewers and spends £1m a month clearing blockages from them.

Thames Water’s head of sewer networks, Matt Rimmer, says: “Wipes, often labelled ‘flushable’, are a massive issue for us. They may disappear when you flush the toilet, but they don’t break down in the sewer pipes. We’re lobbying manufacturers, government and retailers to correctly label the wipes as ‘unflushable’ and to change what they’re made from, but in the meantime we need everyone to put a bin in their bathroom and stop flushing them. We hope seeing Wallace at Tidefest will really help to support our ‘Bin it – don’t block it’ message.”

MCS will be collecting signatures at TideFest asking manufacturers for clearer labelling on wet wipes. The petition will be handed to Edana – the wet wipe industry trade body. MCS hopes the support will show that the public want flushable to mean just that – safe to flush without causing problems to our sewers. If it’s not safe then advice to flush should be removed and replaced with a clear Do Not Flush on the front of the pack.

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Mares & SSI launch new promotion



SSI expands financial support to SSI Members worldwide. 

2020 has been an unusual and challenging year for the entire world, especially the diving and travel industry!  To weather the crisis, SSI immediately jumped into action to help Training Centers and Professionals around the world.  

In response to COVID-19, SSI launched the No Water, No Problem Campaign, put Final Exams online, and held hundreds of Webinars to train Professionals on how to use distance learning to teach the dry Specialties online. The FREE SCIENCE OF DIVING promotion resulted in SSI Training Centers worldwide register over 50,000 FREE DIGITAL KITS, funding more than $3.5 MILLION IN RETAIL VALUE. Additionally, SSI introduced an aggressive DOUBLE PRO REWARDS incentive to help SSI Professionals compensate 2020 Renewal Fees and reduce those for 2021. Currently, the WE WANT YOU Crossover promotion aims to fill the industry need for instructors and strengthen the entire SSI Professional community.

Now, in conjunction with Mares, SSI is launching the GO DIVING – PROTECT YOURSELF. OWN EQUIPMENT Promotion, which includes a FREE SSI EQUIPMENT TECHNIQUES DIGITAL KIT. This new campaign strives to motivate divers worldwide to go diving and buy equipment. Look for more information on this next retail support campaign within the next few days.

“These are just a few examples of how we have supported and are continuing to support our Training Centers, Professionals, and divers worldwide. To provide even more economic security and help in business recovery, WE WILL NOT INCREASE PRICES FOR 2021. While travel was restricted and some key resort areas completely locked down, SSI mainly focused on supporting domestic markets with retail-driven incentives. Now, in this next re-opening phase, we need to shift gear and assist resort markets that have no local diving community and are 100% dependent on the traveling diver. Therefore, SSI will grant certain special conditions and delayed payment options to specific resort markets which have been locked down for longer than six months or suffered from closed borders,” stated Guido Waetzig, SSI CEO.

Guido Waetzig, SSI CEO, explains further, “To financially support these needed investments which directly benefit SSI Members and to protect the health of our valuable members and staff, we will forego all 2021 Trade Shows over the next 12 months. Despite international uncertainty, every time we experience one of these events, the entire SSI Network emerges stronger and more resilient. Be assured, SSI is your trustful partner within the Diving Industry!”

For more information about SSI visit their website by clicking here.

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Photo Gallery: Shark Diving in The Bahamas



In our Gallery feature, we let the photos tell the story… Each Gallery showcases a selection of outstanding images on a chosen theme, taken by our Underwater Photography Editor Nick and Deputy Editor Caroline of Frogfish Photography. This time they look at Shark Diving in The Bahamas.

The Bahamas offers some of the very finest shark diving experiences in the world. The islands have protected sharks in their waters creating one of the first Shark Sanctuaries in the world. Several species of shark can be seen and photographed, with each island offering a different type of shark diving, making this destination the perfect place for a multi-island, multi-shark trip of a lifetime.

Great Hammerhead Shark diving in Bimini

Bull Sharks in Bimini

Tiger Shark off Grand Bahama

Oceanic Whitetip Shark off Cat Island

Nurse Shark off Abaco

Caribbean Reef Sharks off New Providence

Lemon Sharks off Grand Bahama

For more images from The Bahamas and around the world, visit the Frogfish Photography website by clicking here.

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