Awareness spread at FGCU about holiday glitter’s harm to the environment

Reporter: Stephanie Byrne Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Credit: FGCU.

It’s that time of year when glitter is everywhere. For families with kids, it might be all the time. But, if that glitter gets outside, it can be dangerous for animals and the environment, so some students and staff at FGCU are raising awareness about the risks.

Fabiana Solano, an FGCU student studying for her master’s degree, is spreading the word about harm that can come to the environment when glitter is left outside.

“I would just notice glitter on the boardwalks and students blowing them,” Solano said. “And I’m like, OK, well, that doesn’t seem right.’”

Solano is also a photographer, and she went out to document how the sparkly stuff that many enjoy can put the environment at risk.

“So it’ll either stay there in our wildlife, or the animals will eat it, which can affect their health,” Solano said.

She’s not the only one around campus who has noticed the glitter.

“On top of the boardwalk, it does disappear,” said Chad Evers, an instructor at FGCU’s Department of Ecological & Environmental Studies. “But, then, it falls through all of these cracks, or the wind blows it over the edge of the boardwalk. And, then, it doesn’t disappear.”

Evers and Solano are both raising awareness about glitter’s harmful effect on ecosystems.

“Any glitter that anybody has ever dumped on this campus that wasn’t picked up is still here,” Evers said.

For Evers and Solano, enlightening others is one way to brighten the holiday and graduation season. Anyone looking to spread awareness can use the hashtag Solano is using to get the word around about the risk of using glitter — #DontGlitter.

But hope is not lost for anyone looking to deck the halls or jazz up a graduation photo shoot.

“A great one that graduating students love is just picking off their own flower petals,” Solano said. “There are a few around here, even down there. I can already tell that students are listening and actually taking on these alternatives.”

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