Look, I’m a guy, and I kinda love glitter. It’s so shiny and so nice to look at. But by God it can get pretty annoying. Just the other day my cat shoved a Christmas tree ornament to the ground, and the poor glittery thing spilled its glitter filled insides everywhere. Then I realized that I kinda hate it. It’s super annoying, and as Anakin Skywalker (i.e. young Darth Vader) said once, “I hate sand, it gets everywhere.” Replace sand with glitter and you’ll get how I feel.
It looks so pretty. But wait until you have to clean it from the carpet!
But it’s not just me, it’s how a lot of scientists and environmentalists feel too. As repoted by VT, it turns out that looking good and glittery is actually very harmful to the planet – and all its plants and animals.
Turns out glitter is killing thousands of sea animals every year.
Why? Because it’s not degradable, and very difficult to clean or get rid off. So it gradually seeps down to the bottom of our seas and oceans, where it interferes with the plants and animals living there. Some breathe it in and choke, other swallow them – and choke… The possibilities for pollution and damage are endless.
The tiny, sparkly ornamentations are practically indestructible and they fall into a special class of pollutants called microplastics. Microplastics are basically any kind of tiny plastic-based material that are smaller than 5 millimeters in length.
If you don’t trust me, trust the U.S. National Park Service. According to them, even one plastic grocery bag takes up to 20 years to decompose, while your ordinary soda can, or chocolate wrap, made out of aluminum, can degrade from anywhere between 80 to 200 years. Sounds horrifying, doesn’t it? But wait until you learn that there are now a whopping 51 trillion microplastic fragments strewn about our seas in total, polluting the lifeblood of all marine life in existence.
In 2016, scientists showed how fish exposed to microplastics (think glitter) suffer from increased mortality and stunted growth.
If they didn’t manage to kill them, microplastics altered the behavior of some sea animals.
Logically, then, scientists and environmentalists called for a total, worldwide ban on glitter.
“I think all glitter should be banned because it’s microplastic,” said environmental anthropologist Dr. Trisia Farrelly, from Massey University. “When people think about glitter they think of party and dress-up glitter. But glitter includes cosmetic glitters as well, the more everyday kind that people don’t think about as much.”
Plymouth University’s professor Richard Thompson, who researched how microplastics impacted marine environments, agrees: “I was quite concerned when somebody bought my daughters some shower gel that had glitter particles in it. That stuff is going to escape down the plughole and potentially enter the environment.”
Glitter is part of the plastic pollution of our seas and oceans.
But that’s not all – apparently glitter is also harmful to humans. When it gets in fish, it gets into us as well. But as with everything, there will be those who just like to live dangerously:
— Queen Of Liberty.com (@MercuryOneOC) December 3, 2017
And it all goes downhill from there. The shiny dust is a combination of aluminium and a plastic known as PET. And PET is said to break down into chemicals, some of which adversely impact the production of hormones in the bodies of both humans and animals, producing cancers and diseases of various kinds.
Biodegradable alternatives won’t be much better. Just a tad less poisonous.
Well, as the saying goes – all that shines isn’t gold. Sometimes it’s downright poison. And it’s about time we get rid of it.