HBW Students Tackle Plastic Pollution


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By Emma DePaul & Krystal Costa

At H.B.Whitehorne Middle School in Verona, Mrs. Thomas’s fourth marking period oceanography class created a lesson to show to other science classes. The lesson was created to inform the other students about the effect plastic straws and other plastic products have on the environment and the ocean.

In the lesson, some students made music videos to give examples of what the plastic is doing to the ocean and the sea creatures in it. Other students found articles and videos online to help support this topic. The lesson ended by asking the students to take the Last Straw Pledge. The Last Straw Pledge is a pledge to stop using plastic straws or use reusable ones.

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Students also created a video to show how many single-use plastic water bottles one student would use in the course of a school year. The Verona Education Association (VEA) has provided each student at H.B.Whitehorne a reusable water bottle, and installed the hydration station pictured above.

About 5 billion plastic water bottles are used each year and 8.5 billion plastic straws are used. These products end up in the ocean and get lodged in sea turtles throats and caught up their nostrils. Birds that mistake plastic pieces for fish end up feeding plastic to their young or end up dead on the beach. About 100,000 marine creates die each year due to the plastic in the ocean, and about 1 million seabirds die from the plastic on land and in the ocean. The record for most plastic pieces within a bird’s stomach is 273 pieces of sharp plastics, big and small.

The students have very strong opinions of the plastic products affecting the environment. The students think it is repulsive that so many creatures die each year from plastic ingestion. They fear the plastic problem will keep accumulating as time goes on, and they want to put a stop to it. A video was shown in the lesson, and in the video a marine biologist found many dead marine creatures on the beaches of Australia. This raised the concern and awareness in the students for the issue.

This issue has brought a strong need to end the horrific issues impacting our oceans today. No matter how isolated an island is or how deep in the ocean, plastic will always find a way to infest it’s coast and creatures. Traces of plastic have been found in the deepest parts of the ocean to the coasts of beautiful beaches. The students encourage as many people as possible to take the last straw pledge and reduce the amount of plastic found in our environment.

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