When we picture our dream tropical vacay, a vision of water so clear you can see the sand twenty feet below is something that immediately comes to mind. Sadly, that usually not the case when we go for a dip in the ocean. Whether it’s the plastic debris that’s wrecking havoc on marine life or the amount of oil that slips into the water on a regular basis, the ocean is facing a serious pollution problem. The good news? There’s something you can do to help, and spoiler alert – it involves wearing a bikini.

ocean pollution swimsuit

Researchers at the University of California Riverside have invented a new kind of swimsuit material that can absorb up to 25 times its own weight in pollutants. The base layer of the bikini is a 3D-printed elastic netting which conforms to the wearer’s body. Placed under that is a material known as Sponge. Sponge is essentially an environmentally friendly replacement for the absorbent fabric most bathing suits are currently made from.

Here’s how it all works: The contaminants from the ocean are stored in the pores of the special material. This way they don’t come into contact with the wearer. The only way of releasing them is to heat the material to at least 1,832 ºF. This process can be done up to 20 times before the inserts start losing their absorbency. Here’s where things remain a little bit unclear — obviously, our ovens at home don’t get up to 1,000+ ºF, so we can’t exactly load our bikinis up with toxins, bake them up and start anew the next time we head to the beach.


However, the research team does say that the material could also be incorporated into other water apparel like swimming caps and wet suits. So we’re guessing a solution to that dilemma will be solved shortly.

Have you heard of any other cool inventions that help fight pollution recently? Share them with us in the comments below.

(Photos via Reshape, feature photo via UCR Today, h/t Gizmag)