Recently, we welcomed to the school Delia and John, who made a presentation at an assembly and led some class-based workshops. The theme of the assembly and workshops was plastic pollution, with the focus on the effects it is having on our marine environment.
Since their invention, the use of plastics has become pervasive – for obvious reasons – in our everyday lives. Eventually, left unprocessed, most items made of plastic naturally break down into smaller and smaller pieces. Unless carefully recycled, some of this plastic finds its way into the environment.
Some types of plastic, microbeads, are intended to be small. They are used in many health and beauty products (although the single greatest source of microplastic pollution is microfibres from synthetic textiles). Microbeads pass unchanged through waterways and end up in the oceans, where they can have a toxic effect on fish and other aquatic creatures.
So, what can we do? Simply, try to avoid using plastics where possible and re-use and recycle responsibly. Currently, scientists are researching effective and economic ways of removing micro-plastics from the environment.