The issue of plastic pollution in our oceans and seas is now accepted to be a global issue.
Did you know that each year 10,000 containers fall from ships spilling their cargo? Over the years, this haul has included 5 million Lego pieces, 500,000 cans of beer, 80,000 pairs of Nike trainers and 18,400 frying pans!
Investigate how other forms of plastic end up in the ocean by watching this short Greenpeace UK video.
Did anything surprise or shock you? Which part of the short video stood out most? Why?
What do you think are the top five single-use plastic items that cause pollution in our oceans? Write down and draw small icons or emojis to show your ideas.
Look at this infographic from Ocean Conservancy group to see if your ideas matched what they found. What questions could you ask about these statistics?
American oceanographer Charles Moore discovered what he called ‘the Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ – a vast expanse of debris that stretches about 925km across the northern Pacific between the Californian coast and Japan. Professor Moore estimates that approximately 100 million tonnes of waste is circulating in the region.
Marcus Eriksson, a marine researcher working at Professor Moore’s institute, said that originally people thought it was an island of plastic garbage that you could almost walk on. However, it is not quite like that. It is almost like a ‘plastic soup’.
What else can you find out about ‘the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?’
Look at the information showing the estimated decomposition rates of common marine debris items on the ‘How Long Until It’s Gone?’ infographic.
Choose one item and think about its journey from the original source and use, to being found in a body of water. For example, a sandwich wrapper may have been put in a public bin. The bin may have overflowed or been opened by an animal, such as a fox leaving the wrapper on the street. It may have made its way to a river, being moved by weather, human activity or animal activity. Once in the river the wrapper may have flowed downstream to the mouth of the river and been washed up on to the coast or beach.
Create a short comic strip for a younger child to show a journey like this one of plastic from land to sea.