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My lucky number – 13 years studying amazing Risso’s dolphins

Everything we learn about the Risso's dolphins off the coast of Scotland amazes us and...
Dead sperm whale in The Wash, East Anglia, England. © CSIP-ZSL.

What have dead whales ever done for us?

When dead whales wash up on dry land they provide a vital food source for...
Risso's dolphin © Andy Knight

We’re getting to know Risso’s dolphins in Scotland so we can protect them

Citizen scientists in Scotland are helping us better understand Risso's dolphins by sending us their...
Pilot whales pooing © Christopher Swann

Talking crap and carcasses to protect our planet

We know we need to save the whale to save the world because they are...
Fin whale (balaenoptera physalus) Three fin whales Gulf of California.

Speaking truth to power – my week giving whales a voice

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting is where governments come together to make decisions about whaling...

Why do whales and dolphins strand on beaches?

People often ask me 'why' whales and dolphins do one thing or another.  I'm a...
A spinner dolphin leaping © Andrew Sutton/Eco2

Head in a spin – my incredible spinner dolphin encounter

Sri Lanka is home to at least 30 species of whales and dolphins, from the...
Orca (ID171) breaches off the coast of Scotland © Steve Truluck.

Watching whales and dolphins in the wild can be life changing

Whales and dolphins are too intelligent, too large and too mobile to ever thrive in...

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. 

About Regina Asmutis-silvia

Executive director - WDC North America