Linking education and science to increase awareness of marine plastic litter - Distribution of plastic waste on beaches of the German Bight


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Antje.Wichels [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

Since the 1950s more than 6.1 billion tons of plastics have been produced. It has been estimated that about 10% of this amount will be deposited long-term in theOceans. The problem is highlighted by several currentstudies using different environmental sampling protocols and analytical methods. Effects of this anthropogenic litter on the environment and organisms are heavily on debate, emphasizing the need to transfer this knowledge to young educated people and to fuel educational programs. The school lab OPENSEA at the Alfred-Wegener-Institute on Helgoland started a joint high school project on marine plastic litter in cooperation with the experts of the marine microplastics group at AWI to link science and education more closely. Based on the OSPAR protocol for beach monitoring of marine litter we developed an experimental set up focusing on sampling and identification of plastic litter on beaches, shores and in sediments in the course of the OPENSEA science and education program for grammar and high school scholars. This monitoring provides environmental data on marine plastic litter and will be integrated in a long term data monitoring program in the course of a citizen science study. In addition we plan to integrate also smaller plastic particles into the project. Fractionated sediment samples will be screened for particles > 0.5mm, which then will be analyzed by ATR-FT-IR. These educational activities, with a strong link to the latest science and to sophisticated technology will raise the awareness of younger people for the marine litter problematic. We aim at increasingtheir concerns after taking part in this program. We will present background information, sampling strategies, identification efforts and results based on this scholar science project.



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Inbook
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Peer-reviewed
Publication Status
Published
Eprint ID
42491
Cite as
Wichels, A. , Harth, B. and Gerdts, G. (2016): Linking education and science to increase awareness of marine plastic litter - Distribution of plastic waste on beaches of the German Bight / J. Baztan , B. Jorgensen , S. Pahl , R. Thompson and J. Vanderlinden (editors) , In: Fate and Impact of Microplastics in Marine Ecosystems, Fate and Impact of Microplastics in Marine Ecosystems, Elsevier, 1 p., ISBN: 978-0-12-812271-6 .


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