The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Nursery Bans Glitter, Calls on Others to Follow Their Example
By Imogen Calderwood
Glitter is great, right? Particularly now that it's getting dark and cold and a bit depressing outside.
But, as much as we love glitter for making everything look festive, a chain of children's nurseries in the UK might actually have a point.
Tops Day Nurseries has decided that glitter has to go, for the sake of the environment.
Leftovers from children's art projects wash into the water system, and from there can end up in the food chain, according to the nurseries' Managing Director Cheryl Hadland.
"You can see when the children are taking their bits of craft home and there's glitter on the cardboard, it blows off and into the air," said Hadland, who is in charge of 2,500 children in 19 nurseries across Dorset, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Somerset and Wiltshire.
"There are 22,000 nurseries in the country," she added, "so if we're all getting through kilos and kilos of glitter, we're doing terrible damage."
But Hadland added that she "loved glitter" and she is trying to find an alternative material for craft sessions.
Marine Conservation Society described it as a "proactive approach" and welcomed the nurseries' announcement.
Sue Kinsey from the Marine Conservation Society, said: "While glitter is only a small part of the microplastic load getting into watercourses and the sea, steps like these will all add up to something greater."
Alice Horton, from the UK's Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, told the Guardian: "On a small scale, one nursery banning it is unlikely to have any environmental impact, but it's a good environmental statement to make, like one person choosing not to buy bottled water to reduce plastic bottle waste. [It is] not going to change the world but [it] sets a target for others."
Microplastics have become a hot topic in the UK, with the government announcing the strictest ban in the world on microbeads to come into force by the end of this year.
The tiny plastics are found in everyday cosmetic products like body scrubs, face washes, toothpaste and cleaning products. And a single shower can result in 100,000 plastic particles entering the ocean.
Once plastic gets into the ocean, it acts as a magnet for pollutants. Toxins that wash into bodies of water—for example, agricultural pesticides and chemicals from industrial plants—latch onto plastic. And plastic in the water is then eaten by marine animals.
It is already affecting our food chain. The average person who eats seafood swallows an estimated 11,000 pieces of microplastic every year, according to researchers at the University of Ghent.
Sir David Attenborough has been championing the fight against plastic pollution—which he has described as "heartbreaking."
"We may think we live a long way from the oceans but we don't. What we actually do here … has a direct effect on the oceans and what the oceans do then reflects back on us," he said.
"It is one world. And it's in our care," he continued. "For the first time in the history of humanity, for the first time in 500 million years, one species has the future in the palm of its hands. I just hope it realizes that that is the case."
Global Citizen campaigns for the Global Goals, including to protect our oceans and seas. You can take action with us here.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Global Citizen.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Jessica Taft
Fifteen kids from a dozen countries, including Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, recently brought a formal complaint to the United Nations. They're arguing that climate change violates children's rights as guaranteed by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a global agreement.
Susan Vineyard / iStock / Getty Images Plus
By Justin Mikulka
Increasingly, U.S. shale firms appear unable to pay back investors for the money borrowed to fuel the last decade of the fracking boom. In a similar vein, those companies also seem poised to stiff the public on cleanup costs for abandoned oil and gas wells once the producers have moved on.
Top officials at the Department of Housing and Urban Development confirmed to lawmakers last week that they knowingly — and illegally — stalled hurricane aid to Puerto Rico.
It appears Jane Fonda is good for her word. The actress and political activist said she would hold demonstrations on Capitol Hill every Friday through January to demand action on the climate crisis. Sure enough, Fonda was arrested for demonstrating a second Friday in a row Oct. 18, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Only this time, her Grace and Frankie co-star Sam Waterston joined her.
Switzerland's two Green parties made historic gains in the country's parliamentary elections Sunday, according to projections based on preliminary results reported by The New York Times.
By Jeff Turrentine
The coal industry is dying. But we can't allow the communities that have been dependent on coal to die along with it.