BBC School Report
Due to the headlines, reports, surveys and shocking news, we could hardly ignore this rapidly escalating issue. Plastic waste. Accounts from wildlife conservationists and photographers speak of miles of plastic bags, polystyrene plates and beer can holders floating on the surface of our oceans. But still the manufacture of plastic grows, as well as the size of landfill sites and the number of sea life and wildlife deaths. So Year 8 students from West Bridgford School interviewed teachers, site staff, and students about their thoughts and knowledge on this concern. Can we still save our planet- or is it too late?
We quickly became aware that young people of a variety of ages were uninformed about the effects of plastic and the scale of plastic wastage. The environment is suffering and we need a global effort to reduce the amount of plastic in food packaging, general objects and the amount not being recycled. Families in the UK, on average, throw away 40kg of plastic into landfill every year, 40kg of plastic that could have been recycled. However, there is still a large amount of plastic that cannot be recycled, we recycle around 50% of plastic bottles, but only 12-15% of mixed plastic can be recycled. We asked Mr. Normington, a teacher at WBS, about his opinion on the plastic crisis:
“Horrendous, there is a serious need to take action. I reuse my water bottles to try and contribute.”
When questioned on whether he feels that we can make a difference, his reply was, “Definitely. It would take a long time, as plastic manufacture can’t stop tomorrow, but we can still save the planet.”
Miss Toms, a Pastoral Assistant for our Year Group, had strong views too. “Plastic is one of the biggest issues facing our habitat, and I try where possible to not buy plastic packaged food, and I recycle as much as possible.”
However, not everyone is as enlightened on the subject- an anonymous student in Year 8 claimed, “I buy another plastic water bottle every day because I don’t know much about the effects of plastic on our world.” This proves that young people need to be better educated on the problem- something that one of the kitchen staff suggested. “We have plastic bottle bins in the dining hall, but some students still put normal rubbish in it. I really feel that students should be better informed on recycling, because plastic is now harming the environment by ending up in the oceans.” The school is currently striving to achieve relatively plastic free surroundings by providing water fountains for bottle refills, and exchanging plastic cutlery for bio-degradable ones and ceramic plates instead of polystyrene.
The science technician, Miss Taylor, provided some hope that organisations are trying to tackle plastic waste – and this new innovation can be supported by the public. A citizen science project was launched to train drones to spot litter more efficiently and these drones are trained by you. Logging onto the website https://www.zooniverse.org/projects/theplastictide/the-plastic-tide and completing the tagging activity will train the drones’ algorithm to detect litter on the coastline, and then volunteers will be alerted and the litter cleared.
In conclusion, we know that everyone must get involved in reducing unnecessary plastic disposal and use. Thank you for reading our report, and we hope that you will now go and make a difference. ‘You are one in 7.5 billion, and 7.5 billion must come together as one.’
Amelia, Anna, Sadie and Lucy
Year 8 BBC School Reporters
West Bridgford School