Save the Turtles
- Grade 5
- Grade 6
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Be gone, plastic!
Team Save the Turtles
One day, our teacher said that there was a project we could do and if we won, we could go to Science World and it would make an impact to help the environment. As a whole class, we brainstormed ideas for how we could help the earth. Then each student voted on the topics and our class split into two groups. Students in our group were interested in reducing single-use plastics, because our teacher had told us about why single-use plastics are hurting the earth.
We learned that 160,000 plastic bags are used worldwide every second. Plastic never really decomposes, it just gets broken up into smaller and smaller pieces. We also learned that a lot of plastic ends up in the ocean and on beaches. This plastic is killing animals because they eat it, thinking it’s food and then they can’t digest it and then they starve. Animals can also get trapped in garbage and old fishing nets. This is affecting turtles, fish, sea birds, seals, whales, sea lions, etc. The goals of our project were to encourage others to use fewer single-use plastics and be mindful of what they are throwing away and where they are throwing it.
Our group hosted a competition in our school for which class would have the fewest single-use plastics in their lunch for the first week of February. We checked lunches every day and wrote down the how many single-use plastics were in the lunches of participating classes. Five classes in our school participated. We baked cupcakes and a cake as prizes to encourage them to be mindful of what’s in their lunches. The class with the fewest single-use plastics per student per day won a prize. On February 7, we did a beach clean up at a local beach for 30 minutes and got 3 large garbage bags of garbage. We then sorted it, counted it and then made art out of it. When we had finished the art, we invited other classes to come and see it. We made a Power Point presentation and presented it to four classes and explained to them why it’s important to recycle, to not litter, and to avoid using single-use plastics.
Abby, from the Let’s Talk Trash Team visited our class and talked to us about where all the plastic, garbage and recycling goes. She also told us that our garbage gets shipped 770km away to a landfill in Washington State. Our recyclables go to Richmond, then are compacted into small pellets, which are sent to China to be made into a new plastic product.
One of the challenges our team faced was people would go on the tarp where we had our art and move the art around, so we had to redo it over and over again. The first time we went to classes to check their lunches, we didn’t know what to say or what to do. Then we figured it out and eventually we improved. Only five out of 13 classes in our school participated in the single-use plastic-free lunch contest because not every student can afford re-useable containers and teachers didn’t want to make their students feel bad.
Our project might have inspired others to clean up beaches, and to reduce, reuse, and recycle. We cleaned up a whole beach and prevented animals from losing their life. Our project met most of our goals. Our beach clean up was successful and we completed our garbage sculpture and plastic lunch contest. We tried to contact the mayor so he could pass the message of the beach clean up, but he did not respond. One of our original goals was to ban plastic bags in Powell River, but we ran out of time.
Before the end of the school year we plan to ban plastic bags in Powell River by contacting the mayor and doing a letter writing campaign, possibly with other classes and schools.