Thanet school children and University of Kent scientists on a beach clean in Margate collected more than 2,200 pieces of plastic, including 154 plastic bags, 388 bottle tops and some 150 straws and pieces of plastic cutlery.
The clean up was followed by a workshop with the scientists for more than 500 isle pupils at Dreamland in Margate this month to find out exactly what plastic is.
They took part in hands on experiments and were amazed at the process of instantly turning a liquid substance into solid plastic by simply adding one molecule to the mixture.
The beach clean data will be contributed to the Marine Conservation Society’s national survey which monitors the problem that plastic waste presents to the marine ecology.
It was important for the participants to find out exactly what plastic is as a next step and, over two more sessions, they will learn about how plastic can be recycled, and what scientific research is going on to find materials which can replace traditional plastics and ensure a more sustainable future for our planet.
These sessions will also take place at Dreamland’s Hall by the Sea and are free for anyone to drop in on Saturday, November 3 (recycling) and Saturday, November 17 (plastic progress). Sessions take place on the hour, every hour, from 10am to 3pm (last session starts at 3pm). There is no need to book and there will be something to interest everyone from age 8 to 108!
Nikki Hildesley, founder and director of Discovery Planet C.I.C., organised the event with funding from the Royal Society of Chemistry. She said: “It was a fantastic turnout for the beach clean but so depressing to see how much plastic is finding its way onto our beaches and into our oceans.
“It’s now really important that we inform ourselves about exactly what plastic is, and how reducing our use of plastic, efficient recycling, and scientific advances can help us to solve the problem of plastic for future generations. Huge thanks to the Royal Society of Chemistry and Dreamland for enabling us to provide this opportunity to local people.”
Visit www.facebook.com/DiscoveryPlanetRamsgate for further details.
Photos Pete Bateson