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Glitter-filled plastic floats pose a threat to Florida's waterways and wildlife.

Wed, Jun 28, 2023 at 6:40PM

Written by Kristen Schmutz

Belden Communications News



Florida's picturesque waterways and various aquatic animals face a new threat from a trendy line of plastic flotation devices filled with glitter. While these products may be visually appealing, they have the potential to wreak havoc on the delicate ecosystem, pollute local waterways, and pose a significant danger to animals such as manatees, birds, fish, and turtles.

These unsuspecting creatures can unintentionally ingest the undigestible plastic pieces, leading to severe health consequences.

Despite being officially prohibited, these glitter floats have become an all-too-common sight at Blue Spring State Park, a renowned summer swimming destination in Orange City, Florida. The fragile nature of these devices has resulted in multiple breakages causing the small plastic glitter fragments to disperse into the spring run and are carried into the nearby St. Johns River, exacerbating the pollution problem. In response, park visitors should leave these items at home, as park staff will also be on-site to inform guests that their use is prohibited.

Blue Spring State Park and the adjacent St. Johns River serve as crucial habitats for manatees seeking refuge in the warm waters during the winter. While many manatees migrate to other locations during the summer, some, including nursing mothers and their calves, remain in the area year-round. The glitter-filled plastic pollution poses an acute danger to these gentle marine mammals.

"Plastic pollution, particularly in the form of small plastic fragments like glitter, presents an extremely hazardous situation for manatees," warned Cora Berchem, Director of Multimedia and Manatee Research Associate at Save the Manatee Club. "Manatees can inadvertently consume these items while feeding on vegetation, and the accumulation of these fragments in their digestive system can cause severe illness or even death. Save the Manatee Club urges the public to be mindful of the environmental risks associated with glitter-filled tubes and similar devices, using them only in controlled pool environments or avoiding them altogether."

Save the Manatee Club, founded in 1981 by singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett and former Florida Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham, is at the forefront of manatee conservation efforts worldwide, with a mission to protect these gentle giants and their aquatic habitats.

For more information about manatees and the Club's conservation initiatives, visit or call 1-800-432-JOIN (5646).

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