Saturday, May 23, 2009

Mermaid's Tears

I've been dumping little plastic bits also known as nurdles or "mermaid's tears" into the sea for the past probably 10 years or more. How? Through the daily use of exfoliating facial scrub. First read about it in "Bottomfeeder" and have to admit the fact didn't stick somehow but now that I came across the issue again in "The World Without Us", I'm determined to find a substitute for my Biore.

"Browne pulls open the top drawer of a laboratory cabinet. Inside is a cornucopia of feminine beauty aids: shower massage creams, body scrubs, and hand cleaners. Several are by boutique labels: Neova Body Smoother, SkinCeuticals Body Polish, and DDF Strawberry Almond Body Polish. Others are international name brands: Neutrogena, Clearasil, Pond’s Fresh Start, even a tube of Colgate Icy Blast toothpaste.... all have one thing in common.

“Exfoliants: little granules that massage you as you bathe.” He selects a peach-colored tube of St. Ives Apricot Scrub; its label reads: 100% natural exfoliants. “This stuff is okay. The granules are actually chunks of ground-up jojoba seeds and walnut shells.” Other natural brands use grape seeds, apricot hulls, coarse sugar, or sea salt. “The rest of them,” he says, with a sweep of his hand, “have all gone to plastic.”
- "Polymers are forever" in The World Without Us
These micro-scrubbers are tiny spheres of polyethylene which are sold to be washed directly down the drain, into the sea. From there, they go up the food chain and will most probably land on our plates. Karma. In the North Pacific Subtropical gyre (a 10-million-square mile ocean dump), plastic particles outnumber plankton by a factor of more than six times! Oh but some good news.. the great pacific garbage patch is finally due for cleanup sometime in June 2009. Great stuff. Read more about Project Kaisei here.

The things we don't know as consumers.. appalling. Just like how I just came to know about the harmful effects of aluminium in deodorant. And I've been using that for years too. Anyone who knows of a good brand of facial exfoliant and deodorant to use, do share.