Schools across England will mark World Ocean Day (WOD) next month (Tuesday, 8 June) by exploring the journey of plastic with the Environment Agency (EA).
Our Preventing Plastic Pollution colleagues are inviting primary and secondary schools to view a series of online films and activities via an interactive map in advance of the event, culminating in a live question and answer session with the EA and World Wildlife Fund experts on the day.
By clicking on different points of the map, students can learn how plastic pollution travels through our toilets and drains to rivers and oceans having started life as a balloon, plastic-food wrap, litter, clothing and agricultural materials.
They will also hear about climate change, household waste, how plastic has been found in rock pools, the different sizes of plastic (micro, macro and nano-plastics), and have the chance to take part in a competitive litter pick and art competition, plus other fun activities.
The resources have been created by the EA’s plastics and sustainability team on behalf of the Interreg Preventing Plastic Pollution project.
Kelly Haynes, Environment Agency STEM engagement officer, said: “Expert evidence has shown that plastic in our environment has detrimental effects on flora and fauna in the natural world and that its presence affects our wellbeing.
“By supporting World Ocean Day, we hope to bring to life some of these issues and encourage a circular economy for plastics, helping to protect the future of our wildlife and planet. Everyone can play a part in avoiding unnecessary plastic.
“We hope this interactive learning programme will be a great motivational tool for students of all ages, inspiring them to make small environmental changes in their daily lives by following the avoid, reduce, reuse and recycle lifecycle mantra – doing their bit to help marine life thrive.”
World Ocean Day: WOD is an annual United Nations event to remind everyone of the major role oceans play in our everyday lives. It was initiated in 1992 and over 140 countries take part today. This year the calendar event is themed ‘The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods’ and falls in the same week as the G7 Summit in Cornwall.
Environment Agency role – Preventing waste plastic entering the environment by cracking down on waste crime and poor waste management is a key activity for the Environment Agency as a regulator. As an influencer, it also has an ambition to promote better environmental practices that result in a reduction of plastic waste, helping to achieve the goals and commitments outlined in its five year plan to create better places for people, wildlife and the environment, and the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan.
Preventing Plastic Pollution – Working in partnership with 18 organisations from across France and England, Preventing Plastic Pollution (PPP) seeks to understand and reduce the impacts of plastic pollution in the river and marine environments. By looking at the catchment from source to sea, the project will identify and target hotspots for plastic, embed behaviour change in local communities and businesses, and implement effective solutions and alternatives.
PPP is a €14million funded EU INTERREG VA France (Channel) England Programme project co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund which works mainly across seven pilot sites: Brest Harbour, Bay of Douarnenez, Bay of Veys, Poole Harbour, and the Medway, Tamar, and Great Ouse estuaries.
Partners are the Environment Agency, Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Queen Mary University of London, LABOCEA Conseil, Expertise et Analyses, Syndicat mixte établissement public de gestion et d’aménagement de la baie de Douarnenez, Office Français De La Biodiversité, Parc naturel marin d’Iroise, Brest Métropole, Centre national de la recherche scientifique, Counseil départemental de la Manche, Institut français de recherche pour l’exploitation de la mer, The Rivers Trust, Syndicat de bassin de l’Elorn, ACTIMAR, Brest’aim, Westcountry Rivers Trust, South East Rivers Trust, and Plymouth City Council.