TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Glitter float tubes are now banned from a Florida state park due to their tendency to break open and litter the springs with plastic, harming wildlife like manatees.
Visitors to Blue Spring State Park in Volusia County will have to leave the glitter behind before hitting the water, according to new signage posted at the park’s entrance.
“Unfortunately, they are pretty flimsy, so they break very easily, so they empty out all the glitter and the plastic into our waterways,” Cora Berchem from the Save the Manatee Club told NBC affiliate WESH.
Photos provided by the Save the Manatee Club show dozens of colorful plastic pieces sitting under the water’s surface. Wildlife advocates worry that the trash may appear appetizing to unsuspecting animals.
“Manatees and other wildlife, like turtles, fish, all those kinds of animals, can then ingest that plastic and become very sick,” Berchem told WESH.
And, as anyone who has ever attempted an arts and crafts project knows, it’s basically impossible to completely clean up spilled glitter.
“We are aware of a lot of cases where manatees have ingested plastic and all kinds of things that float in the waterways that have made them very sick and, in severe cases, even led to their death,” Berchem told WESH.
The Save the Manatee Club hopes that by spreading awareness, park visitors will think twice about what they bring into the water.