Our oceans have a plastic problem. Plastic is the most common refuse found in the sea. Non -biodegradable plastic bags, water bottles, food containers etc…. don’t break down easily. When they do eventually break down, these microplastics get eaten by fish and other marine life. Its thought that half of the species of fish eat microplastic. This toxic material is ending up on our dinner plates!
Scientists, inventors and organizations are working hard to fix this problem. Boyan Slat and his Ocean Cleanup is one such group. From the Netherlands, Slat became concerned with ocean pollution as a teenager. He designed a boom and screen system that would corral ocean debris to be taken away by ship and recycled. The latest version of his invention is set to launch on September 8th, headed to clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The GPGP is a circulating “island” of debris twice the size of Texas. Its estimated to contain 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic. Slat and Ocean Cleanup hopes to cleanup 50% of the GPGP in five years. Kids can follow the progress of Slat’s cleanup effort by visiting www.theoceanceanup.com.
Even if you are miles from an ocean, its easy to get your kids involved in ocean conservation. 80% of the plastic in the ocean comes from land- based sources. You and your kids can organize a neighborhood cleanup day. Loose trash often ends up in storm sewers and eventually the oceans. Using fewer plastic products helps save marine life. Encourage your child to take his/her lunch in a cloth bag rather than plastic. Sea turtles often mistake floating plastic bags for food. Have your child pick out a fun stainless-steel reusable water bottle, much better for the oceans than the traditional plastic bottles. Set up a recycling station in your home, and have your child participate in separating refuse. For more ideas about keeping our oceans clean, go to www.nationalgeographic.com and search for their article called 10 Things You Can Do to Save the Ocean.
Club SciKidz Labs offers a lab box themed Saving Our Oceans. Kids experiment with making their own biodegradable plastic, learn about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and create an Ocean Zones nature craft. As with all our boxes, kids will find Secret Formulas, 20 micro experiments, a technology project, and a few surprises.
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