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How fibreglass boats have become a global pollution problem

4 Aug 2020 - The Guardian - Dumped and ageing fibreglass boats are breaking up, releasing toxins and microplastics across the world.

4 Aug 2020 - The Guardian - Dumped and ageing fibreglass boats are breaking up, releasing toxins and microplastics across the world.

Where do old boats go to die? The cynical answer is they are put on eBay for a few pennies in the hope they become some other ignorant dreamer’s problem.

As a marine biologist, I am increasingly aware that the casual disposal of boats made out of fibreglass is harming our coastal marine life. The problem of end-of-life boat management and disposal has gone global, and some island nations are even worried about their already overstretched landfill.

The strength and durability of fibreglass transformed the boating industry and made it possible to mass produce small leisure craft (larger vessels like cruise ships or fishing trawlers need a more solid material like aluminium or steel). However, boats that were built in the fibreglass boom of the 1960s and 1970s are now dying.

We need a drain hole for old boats. We can sink them, bury them, cut them to pieces, grind them or even fill them with compost and make a great welcoming sign, right in the middle of roundabouts in seaside towns.

But there are too many of them and we’re running out of space. To add to the problem, the hurricane season wreaks havoc through the marinas in some parts of the world, with 63,000 boats damaged or destroyed after Irma and Harvey in the Caribbean in 2017 alone.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/aug/06/nautical-not-nice-how-fibreglass-boats-have-become-a-global-pollution-problem