RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT THE PLASTIC WASTE IN THE SEA

Alytus Jotvingiai Gymnasium continues its activities to become the European Blue School “Healthy and Clean Ocean”.

AIM OF THE ACTIVITIES AND LEARNING OBJECTIVES – to increase young people’s awareness in issues about water pollution by plastics, starting with own living environment.

ONLINE LESSON: BALTIC SEA – OUR HOME. An experiment with amber. Lithuanian sea museum. An experiment with amber  Lietuvos jūrų muziejus

Plastic waste is one of the largest pollutants in the Baltic Sea. Garbage visible to the naked eye and invisible microplastic particles enters the Baltics through rivers that flow into the sea from the surrounding states. The Baltic Sea is closed and is surrounded by many people who use more and more plastic.

A picture from the project practice– The picture is the author’s own –(Attribution CC-BY)

VILNIUSTECH LECTURE “PLASTIC PRODUCTS IN THE HOUSEHOLD”

In cooperation with VilniusTech University, we organized a lecture for students on the Microsoft Teams platform, led by Professor of the Department of Water Marina Valentukevičienė.  During the lecture, the professor told the students that this topic is very relevant for students and it all starts with our home and suggested to students how to do research work with their home cosmetics, looking for polymers, researching the properties of plastics. Students learned that there is 83% plastic beaches and about 71% debris found on the seabed. The professor made recommendations for future generations, communicating on social networks, thus advising to search, to discover their own means of finding solutions to reduce water pollution by plastics. During the lecture professor also introduced ecological masks made of eucalyptus wood with biodegradable layers that can be used for textile production. Such masks have antiseptic properties required for respiration and naturally decompose in nature. Informing the public is one of the best tools to change people’s behaviour. And it is research into plastic pollution in water, on the seabed, on the coast, in marine organisms and even in our homes that can provide new knowledge.

A picture from the project practice– The picture is the author’s own –(Attribution CC-BY)

EXPERIMENTAL TEAM WORK – RECOGNITION OF MICROPLASTICS IN COSMETICS

Students grades 9-10 individually examined the microplastic particles in the toothpaste used according to the detailed plan of the experimental work. The method of steady-state distribution of the mixture was used in the study, and the height of the clarified mixture was observed and measured within 10 hours. The obtained results were used to plot a graph illustrating the time dependence of the clarity and to summarize the barb.

A picture from the project practice– The picture is the author’s own –(Attribution CC-BY)

The sea is affected by pollution from households, sewage networks and agricultural fields into rivers. All this eventually reaches the Baltics. For example, next-generation pollutants such as pharmaceuticals enter sewage treatment plants mainly from households, and treatment plants are not adapted to treat these compounds.

EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS

Summarizing the results students have got, that the mixture of paste and water clarified very slowly (within 10 h 3mm), resulting in the formation of a colloidal solution with a very small particle size; microscopy of the materials collected and dried from the surface of the mixture and based on the composition of the paste, it can be stated that there are no microplastic particles. Students acknowledged that polyethylene and paper had to be sorted to pack the paste.

Students learned that the largest part of the rubbish in the Baltic Sea consists of artificial polymers, popularly called simply plastics. Plastic rubbish is there and pollution needs to be reduced. All the more so because the Baltic Sea is very closed, and everything that enters it, stays in it, is thrown ashore or settles on the bottom. Garbage is an unnatural object in the environment and possible negative consequences. They are swallowed or entangled by animals. Garbage can also be a source of chemical pollution. At high garbage concentrations, even garbage islands are formed, polluting the water.

INTEGRATION INTO THE CURRICULUM

A picture from the project practice– The picture is the author’s own –(Attribution CC-BY)

This project will make use of the CLIL method: an approach where students learn a subject and a second language at the same time. A science course, for example, can be taught to students in English and they will not only learn about science but also gain relevant vocabulary and language skills.

A picture from the project practice– The picture is the author’s own –(Attribution CC-BY)

Delivering a 21st-century learning experience, students are active participants in constructing knowledge, understandings and even solutions to real problems in their communities. These experiences often include approaches such as problem-based, project-based learning, extended challenges, work-based learning, and applying immersive technologies.

RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS

The sea is affected by pollution from households, sewage networks and agricultural fields into rivers. All this eventually reaches the Baltics. For example, next-generation pollutants such as pharmaceuticals enter sewage treatment plants mainly from households, and treatment plants are not adapted to treat these compounds.

This is an area where the responsibility of not only politicians and industry but also society, is needed. The more we pay attention to the Baltic Sea, the more it will help to join forces and achieve the desired good state of the marine environment. In order to make the Baltic Sea cleaner, it is very important that every holidaymaker who visits the sea collects rubbish does not wash cars near water bodies and does not spill chemicals that are dangerous to wildlife.

Find ways to personally contribute to the preservation of the Baltic Sea. Participation in the project teaches how to solve problems as well as take responsibility for the Baltic sea pollution. Marine pollution depends on the consciousness and daily habits of each of us.

Teachers are glad that the dissemination of information helped to raise the relevance of this issue in the lives of students, families and society. Students will feel active participant solve the environmental problem in their nearby living places. Students enhanced their 21st-century skills and innovative skills.

A picture from the project practice– The picture is the author’s own –(Attribution CC-BY)

RIVER CLEANUP LITHUANIA 2021– Contribute to the goal of the initiative – to promote environmental awareness and prevent waste from entering water bodies, seas and oceans. We will register all managed places on the international map – we will become a part of the international event!

River Cleanup will take place on the first weekend of June (5-6) to mark International Environment Day. This is an idea born in Belgium, which we have been representing in Lithuania.

A poster Cleanup Lietuva– The picture is the author’s own –(Attribution CC-BY)

The idea is to invite students to focus on cleaning rivers and other bodies of water around the world on the same weekend, thus preventing waste from entering the oceans (as much as 80% of waste reaches the seas and oceans by rivers).

Although we are currently living in a pandemic and need to avoid social contact, we can still go outside and at the same time contribute to a cleaner environment.

RIVER NETWORK

Students should be able to

• Collect rubbish in a convenient place near the river or march along the riverbank, recording its ecological status

• Mark location coordinates

• Capture management moments (take photos / videos)

• Ensure proper waste collection and sorting (if possible)

ESTABLISHING A LAND-SEA CONNECTION

This year, we will not only collect waste, but also study the condition of the coasts! Walking along the river banks in the territories of five major Lithuanian cities, we will capture the river banks with cameras and create a common database, which we will later entrust to scientists and experts. Event page Facebook

International website – https://www.river-cleanup.org/lt/lietuva

Event organizer in Lithuania – Public Institution “Green Policy Institute” www.zaliojipolitika.lt

Participating teachers “Healthy and Clean Ocean”:

Irena Ribinskiene-Physics teacher; Lina Petraskiene-English language teacher; Lina Rutkauskaite- Biology teacher; Virginija Kluseviciene- Geography, Economic teacher; Lina Bieliauskiene –Chemistry teacher; Laimute Krisiuleviciene-Technology teacher.

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About iribinsjiene

Physics Teacher, International Baccalaureate IB diploma programme physics teacher, Alytus Jotvingiai gymnasium, Lithuania; NBS pilot teacher, VilniusTech university class coordinator, Scientix ambassador in Lithuania, STE(A)M IT ‑ Career Advisers Network member; Certificate Member of the EU4Ocean Platform, Network of the EU Blue Schools;

2 thoughts on “RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT THE PLASTIC WASTE IN THE SEA

  1. Very good subject! Ocean„s plastic polution is, indeed, one of the biggest problems our world has. Did you try showing to kids what happens if you dump babywipes in the water? It„s a bad habbit that most of the people have.

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