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We need whale poo 📷 WDC NA

Whales are our climate allies – meet the scientists busy proving it

At Whale and Dolphin Conservation, we're working hard to bring whales and the ocean into...
Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

The whale trappers are back with their cruel experiment

Anyone walking past my window might have heard my groan of disbelief at the news...
Boto © Fernando Trujillo

Meet the legendary pink river dolphins

Botos don't look or live like other dolphins. Flamingo-pink all over with super-skinny snouts and...
Risso's dolphin entangled in fishing line and plastic bags - Andrew Sutton

The ocean is awash with plastic – can we ever clean it up?

You've seen pictures of plastic litter accumulating on beaches or marine wildlife swimming through floating...
Fin whale

Is this the beginning of the end for whaling off Iceland?

I'm feeling cautiously optimistic after Iceland's Fisheries Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir wrote that there is little...
Mykines Lighthouse, Faroe Islands

Understanding whale and dolphin hunts in the Faroe Islands – why change is not easy

Most people in my home country of the Faroe Islands would like to see an...

Dolphin scientists look like you and me – citizen science in action

Our amazing volunteers have looked out for dolphins from the shores of Scotland more than...
Atlantic white-sided dolphins

The Faroes dolphin slaughter that sparked an outcry now brings hope

Since the slaughter of at least 1,423 Atlantic white-sided dolphins at Skálafjørður in my home...

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder… and the stomachs of unsuspecting wildlife

As Valentine’s Day is approaching and couples primp for their special date night, are they doing so at the expense of our environment?  From facial cleansers to toothpaste, abrasives are prevalent in “beauty” items to exfoliate and ensure that we are putting our best face forward.  But what makes these products feel coarse to the touch are a lot rougher on the environment than it is on your face. 

Micro-beads, or micro-plastics, are often used in products to provide the grainy texture which helps to exfoliate.  As they are nearly invisible, many do not realize the major role they are playing in wreaking havoc when you wash them down your drain.  Serving as a magnet for nasty chemicals like hydrocarbons and flame retardants, these beads, inevitably end up in our oceans.

Once in our waterways and oceans, everything from fish to birds and worms ingest these plastics.  This is how the nasty hitchhiking chemicals on these micro- beads are introduced into the food web and “bio-accumulate”, or build up.  As they build up they become toxic, impacting everything from fish to whales to humans that consume the contaminated prey lower on the food chain. 

While many have been aware of the issue for some time, regulations preventing the use of micro-plastics have been slow to develop.  This week, however, lawmakers in state of New York put forward legislation that would ban the sale of products containing micro-plastics in their state.  WDC applauds Assemblyman Robert K. Sweeney of Suffolk County and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for proposing this action which we hope, is the first, in a series of many.  The more states that ban the use of micro-plastics will mean a great reduction in the bio-waste and micro-plastics in our waterways and oceans. 

There are also things that individuals can do to help stop the problem, because, as they say, there is an app for that – you’re only a download away from finding out if the products you chose are micro bead free!  Please help us in our fight to protect our oceans, whales and ourselves by making sure your date night is also a safe night for the environment.