The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is bringing its monster made of wet wipes to the Looe Festival of the Sea (Sunday 4th June) to highlight why being a ‘flusher’ in the bathroom rather than a ‘binner’ is bad for the bathing water quality at beaches like East Looe. The charity says that flushing anything but “the 3Ps” – pee, poo and paper – down the loo can lead to blocked drains resulting in pollution on beaches and in the sea.
Three metres tall and eight metres wide, ‘Wallace’ will be on show at East Looe beach as part of the Looe Marine Conservation Group Festival of the Sea. He’ll help the charity explain to the public the financial and environmental cost of putting the wrong stuff down the loo!
MCS says that the number of wet wipes found on UK beaches has increased by almost 700% over the last decade. Wet wipes are commonly used in the bathroom to remove make-up, clean up babies’ bottoms and wipe toilet seats and, once used, are then often popped down the toilet and flushed. And that’s where it all goes wrong!
Water companies are finding that, when flushed, wipes result in blockages because they don’t meet the water industry standard allowing them to be flushed. South West Water says it costs them, and their customers, £4.5million each year to clear around 8,500 blockages in their sewerage network – about 65% of which are caused by wipes and other sanitary products being flushed down the toilet. These blockages can result in localised flooding in people’s homes or gardens and can cause sewers to overflow onto beaches and into the sea. This type of pollution can affect the bathing water quality at beaches like East Looe.
In 2015 East Looe bathing water was classified as ‘Poor’ and signs were displayed advising against bathing. In 2016, with the help of The Looe Bathing Water Quality Partnership involving local organisations and the community working together on initiatives to reduce sewer overflows, introduce better farming practices and anti-pollution campaigns, the bathing water quality had risen to ‘Sufficient’.
MCS Water Quality Programme Manager, Rachel Wyatt, says pollution comes from a variety of sources: “At East Looe the main source of pollution is from farmland with a smaller amount coming from the surrounding town. It’s also affected by sewer overflow pipes which are designed to prevent localised flooding. They allow rainwater and diluted sewage to flow into rivers and the sea, relieving pressure on the sewerage system during periods of high rainfall. Because the pollution comes from a wide range of sources it’s imperative communities work together.”
By taking ‘Wallace’, to East Looe, MCS hopes to raise awareness in the town of the importance of clean bathing waters and how everyone can do their part to reduce pollution. The charity will be asking people to remember that all wet wipes belong in the bin and only the 3Ps – Pee, Poo and Paper – should be flushed down the toilet.
Further information about wet wipes and the problems they cause can be read at www.wetwipesturnnasty.co.uk
The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is the UK charity dedicated to protecting our seas, shores and wildlife. Find out more about their work at www.mcsuk.org
PADI and Circular Flow Partner to Pursue Sustainable Neoprene Recycling Programme
Trial Launches in the UK to Prove Feasibility and Scalability
PADI® is bringing about positive change for our shared blue planet through their partnership with Circular Flow. The goal is to create a closed loop neoprene recycling programme to foster a dive economy that aims to reduce the global impact of old and discarded wetsuits within the dive industry.
An estimated 8,380 tons of old wetsuits lie unused every year, with the majority inevitably headed for landfill thanks to the popularity of thermal protection in water sports, coupled with the lack of scalable, sustainable recycling systems for neoprene.
Recognising the opportunity for innovation, PADI, in partnership with Circular Flow, aims to offer the dive industry effective and sustainable solutions to the problem of disposing of wetsuits and other non-biodegradable neoprene products. The goal is to keep them out of landfills and recycle them into useful products such as mask straps and changing mats. To ensure feasibility and determine global scalability, the initiative will begin with a test in the UK.
“PADI is committed to help reduce the global environmental footprint of the dive industry and support our members and divers to reduce impact as well,” says Drew Richardson, CEO and President of PADI Worldwide. “We are constantly looking for new and scalable ways to do so through our Mission Hubs across the planet. We are proud to introduce and test this ground-breaking recycling programme into our community, enabling every diver to recycle neoprene as part of being an Ocean Torchbearer.”
During the initial trial, divers can bring their clean and dry wet suits and other neoprene items to participating UK Dive Centres from August 11th – August 22nd. PADI and Circular Flow will then arrange for the free collection of the items for recycling. Circular Flow will implement an innovative process to recycle the neoprene, after shipping the neoprene to a specialised factory. The patented recycling process eliminates the use of chemicals or water and utilising electricity, pressure and heat.
To learn more about the programme or locate a place to drop off your end-of-life neoprene in the UK, visit circularflow.net/padi
DAN Founder Peter Bennett has passed away
Peter Bennett, PhD, DSc, passed away on Tuesday in the company of his wife, Margaret, and son, Chris. Bennett was a passionate researcher and entrepreneur who founded Divers Alert Network in 1980 and led the organization for 23 years.
Born in Portsmouth, England, on June 12, 1931, Bennett studied chemistry and biology at the University of London, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1951. After university he worked at the Royal Navy Physiological Laboratory and in 1964 earned his doctorate in physiology and biochemistry from the University of Southampton.
Bennett loved diving medicine and physiology and was a charter member of the Undersea Medical Society at its founding in 1967. He was later its president (1975-1976), the editor of its journal (1976-1979), and its executive director (beginning in 2007).
In 1972 Bennett moved to the United States, where he was first named deputy director and later director of the F.G. Hall Laboratory hyperbaric chamber facility at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. In 1980, Bennett submitted a proposal to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) for a grant to fund an emergency hotline for injured divers. Thus Bennett and his colleagues at Duke undertook responsibility for the hotline that would eventually grow and become Divers Alert Network.
During his 23-year tenure at the helm of DAN, Bennett oversaw introduction of the organization’s membership program, dive accident insurance program, research department, continuing medical education program, training department, and more.
An emeritus professor of anesthesiology at Duke University, Bennett published more than 100 journal publications, 31 book chapters, and several books, including Physiology and Medicine of Diving, a definitive work in the field. He also published numerous reports, workshop proceedings, and abstracts. Among his areas of interest were trimix, deep stops, and high-pressure nervous syndrome.
Over the years Bennett received many awards, including the 1980 NOGI Award for Sciences by the Underwater Society of America. He also received recognition from DEMA, SSI, the Underwater Society of America, the National Academy of Scuba Educators, NAUI, the British Historical Diving Society, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and many others.
“In founding DAN, Dr. Bennett accomplished something truly remarkable,” said DAN president and CEO Bill Ziefle. “It is because of his vision and action that divers all over the world now have the support of an organization that stands ready to assist in the event of an emergency. Dr. Bennet’s inquisitive mind and drive to achieve were gifts to divers everywhere.”
“Peter Bennett dedicated his life to the advancement of diving,” said DAN medical director Jim Chimiak, MD. “Few equal his combined accomplishments as a researcher, organizer, and leader in diving medicine. He will remain a profound influence on everyone working in this increasingly important area of human endeavor. He displayed an infectious, pioneering spirit that rallied expert, worldwide collaborations that routinely accomplished the impossible. He was a great mentor and friend who will be truly missed.”
Join the DAN community or learn more at www.DAN.org.
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