Glitter loses lustre on rising tide of pollution fears

Pre-primary schools, often twinkling with glitter, are starting to ban it because of harm to oceans, writes Katie Morley in London. Almost one in four British pre-schools want to ban glitter from their classrooms because of environmental concerns over plastics, a survey has found. The news comes after Tops Day Nurseries, a pre-school care chain, banned glitter at its 19 nurseries in the south of England last year over worries regarding the environment. At the time, the move was praised by the Marine Conservation Society, a charity that campaigns to protect the world’s oceans. Most glitter is made from tiny pieces of so-called “microplastic” which makes it a potential ecological hazard, especially to the world’s oceans. Now a poll of nursery workers by – a reviews website – has found that almost a quarter (22%) favour banning glitter. The survey questioned 1,092 nursery owners, managers and workers -between January and March and found the most establishments have no plans to ban glitter, with some referring to such a ban as “the nanny state“. Cheryl Hadland, the managing -director of Tops Day Nurseries, said she felt “sad rather than surprised” to learn that most nurseries were still planning to carry on using glitter. She said: “I would have had the same opinion only six months ago. I believe that when colleagues in education, and indeed more humans, understand what damage we are doing to the environment – with microplastics and one-use plastics – that they will start to do whatever they can in order to protect our world for our children and for tomorrow.” Scientists have also called for glitter to be banned over fears that it is harming the environment. Microplastics are fragments of plastic less than 5mm long. They can be accidentally ingested by animals. Earlier this year, a ban on plastic microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products in the UK came into force. Marine animals of all sizes have been found to have consumed microplastics, which means that they can then enter the human food chain. One study led by Professor Richard Thompson, of Plymouth University, found tiny pieces of plastic in a third of UK-caught fish. Some estimates place the total number of microplastics in the world’s oceans at up to 51 trillion fragments. – The Daily Telegraph