Monday, September 14, 2015

"Plastic, Ahoy!" -- The Science of Plastic Waste for Kids

If you draw a line on a flat map of the planet, you will cross about 165 major rivers. Each one of those rivers will end in one of 5 oceans:  the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic and Antarctic Oceans. 

When we accidentally lose a plastic bottle filled with juice, soda, tea or water, and it winds up in a river, guess where it ends up?

  1. A parking lot?
  2. A neighbor’s front yard?
  3. The ocean where that river ends?

It could end up on any of the above three locations. But if that bottle isn’t picked up and properly put away—like in a recycling bin—eventually it could end up in one of the 5 oceans.

Children’s book author, Patricia Newman, wrote about students learning the science of plastics and the ocean. Her award-winning book, “Plastic, Ahoy!  —  Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch” is a real-life science book about what happens when our plastic trash ends up in the 

And there is so much plastic in the ocean now that scientists worry. They worry if plastic has become part of the food tiny fish eat. Then they worry if the bigger fish that eat those tiny fish filled with plastic, become filled with plastic too.  The next worry is, what about the fish we eat? Are they filled with plastic?  

We also know that dolphins, sea turtles, whales, seals, and sea birds become trapped in plastic waste and that they often mistake plastic waste for food. Plastic isn't food. It's poison when eaten.

How can you help?  This Saturday, September 19, 2015, kids and grown-ups from around the world will help keep plastics out of our oceans.  It is International Coastal Cleanup Day.

In 2014, 560,000 volunteers in 91 countries picked up more than 16 million pounds of trash.

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