Jun 032016

World Ocean’s Day is June 8th, and this year’s theme is “Healthy oceans, healthy planet”.  It’s been a while since we’ve discussed plastic pollution here on the blog, so in the spirit of World Ocean’s Day 2016, we wanted to reinstate a serial post called Breakup with Plastic, Makeup with the Ocean.

In these short periodic posts, we will provide a tip as to how you can reduce, reuse or recycle your plastic wares.


Tip 4 – Eliminate the use of beauty and personal care products containing plastic microbeads.

First, what are microbeads?  Microbeads are tiny plastic balls that are used in some cosmetic exfoliators, body washes, facial washes, scrubs, toothpastes and other products.

Why are microbeads bad?  Microbeads are a major source of plastic pollution in our oceans, lakes and other bodies of water.  Due to their minute size, they are not filtered out of the wastewater at sewage treatment plants. Also, they act as toxin absorbers, causing harm when they are inevitably ingested by marine life.  Eventually these tiny spheres move up the food chain, and we all know what that means for human who consume fish.

How can I determine that my products are microbead free?  By 2017, it will be illegal to manufacture and sell a cosmetic product containing microbeads in the United States.  Until then, or if you live in an area that has not banned microbeads, become a label-reading sleuth.  Look for the ingredients polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene, nylon or polymethlyl methacrylate, especially when purchasing products which claim to exfoliate or deep clean the skin.

Plastic pollution of our oceans may be a HUGE issue, but small changes CAN and DO help.  Please remember that your actions add up.


More about World Ocean’s Day 2016

This year World Ocean’s Day is organizing a Better Bag Challenge.  By taking the challenge, you promise not to take any disposable plastic bags for a whole year.  You can share your commitment on social media using the hashtag #BetterBagChallenge.


Jan 272016

Last Saturday, January 23rd, Dive Friends Bonaire held its first quarterly cleanup dive of 2016 at Karel’s Pier in downtown Kralendijk.  In total, 2714 items of marine debris were collected by a record-high 135 volunteer divers.

Their next cleanup dive will be held on April 9th.  If you’re on Bonaire during that time, come join the fun.

In between his debris collecting duties, Steve was able to capture a few shots from the dive.

Spotted Eagle Ray

Spotted Eagle Ray

A diver with his debris bag

Steve’s cleanup dive buddy with debris bag

Steve was lucky to spot this seahorse during the dive

Steve was lucky to spot this seahorse during the dive

A diver collecting debris

A diver collecting debris

A French Angelfish inspects the activity

A French Angelfish inspects the activity

A curious position for a Sharptail Eel

A curious position for a Sharptail Eel

A Hogfish with divers behind

A Hogfish with divers in the background

And here is a video by Dive Friends Bonaire.

Nov 162015

“If current rates of temperature rise continue, the ocean will become too warm for coral reefs by 2050.”  source, Living Blue Planet Report 2015, WWF

A Healthy Fijian Reef

A Healthy Fijian Reef

For those of us that spend considerable time diving the world’s oceans & reefs, this prediction is depressing in the extreme.  Yet it is only one consequence of our ongoing negligence when it comes to the management of our most precious asset on Earth.

Our oceans are under assault from a variety of stressors, including plastic pollution, overfishing and unsustainable tourism.  Many (if not most) of these threats are man-made.  It’s time we took a serious look at how we can undo the damage caused by our own drive to commoditize every square inch of our seas.

As a diver and conservationist, I was already aware of the gravity of these issues.  And still, I was left shocked after reading WWF’s Living Blue Planet Report.  The good news is that there is much we can do to change course and restore the health of our oceans.  Change starts locally, and it starts with you.  Even if you don’t dive, sail, swim, surf or otherwise enjoy watersports, your daily living and well-being are tied to our oceans in almost unimaginable ways.  Please take the time to read the report and learn about what you can do to help protect 75% of our planet.

Namena Marine Reserve, Fiji

Namena Marine Reserve, Fiji





Sep 252014

This week’s tip is really simple.  It’s something that almost all of us can do  – maybe even on a daily basis.  In the US alone, more than 500 million plastic drinking straws are used EACH DAY!  According to Ocean Conservancy, plastic straws are one of the top 10 items found in their International Coastal Cleanups.

Tip 3 – Reduce, or preferably eliminate, your use of plastic straws.

If you are a consumer, dining at a restaurant perhaps, just say no when your server brings a straw with your drink.  As a restaurant owner or server, make a policy of asking your customers if they would like a straw.  You may be surprised when many of those customers decline.



Sep 112014

Lately I’ve been thinking about simple ways to reduce plastic consumption.  Last week’s tip was one of the simplest – bring your own reusable bags to the grocery store.

While walking through Whole Foods this week (with my reusable bags stuffed in my purse, of course), I stopped in the health and beauty aisle to buy more products that I don’t need take inventory of the types of packaging used in the array of personal care products.  Not surprisingly, almost every lotion, potion, serum, vitamin and cream was encased in plastic.  I was not going to make headway in this aisle… And just as I began to head for the checkout line, the scent of verbena and lavender lured me back in.  Soap!  That was it!  Many of the soaps available at Whole Foods are packaged in paper.  Which leads me to…

Tip 2- Purchase soap packaged in paper in lieu of body washes in plastic bottles.  

This shouldn’t be too difficult, should it?