Did you know that floating in the Pacific ocean is a great garbage patch the size of 600,000 square mile, roughly twice the size of Texas. This plastic island called a gira and contains 1.8 pieces of plastic weighing 88,000 tons – the equivalent of 500 jumbo jets, most of this plastic comes from food packaging. Yip, all those single use straws, polystyrene containers, water bottles and layers of plastic wrappers all end up right here- there is no such thing as ‘away’. After being carelessly disposed, they enter our river systems and eventually travel to the ocean were circulating currents push the garbage big heaps of rubbish together to form these massive islands effecting not only animal life but people too.
For World Water day, the eco-club at Emadolobheni decided to take action to help save our oceans. After learning about how plastic is made, they realized that plastics don’t just decompose but rather photo degrade into smaller and smaller pieces. This not only makes it hard to collect, but many of these small nuggets of plastic are mistaken for ‘fish eggs’ and swallowed by fish, birds and other animal. Poisonous toxics are leached from the plastic over time and these toxins move up the food chain in greater concentrations to eventually poison us. Yip, you are right, ironically our waste is poisoning communities of people. The learner learnt that the best solution is to reduce, reuse, recycle and repair rather than buying more plastic. They also learnt that it is easier to trap waste before it breaks down. They were then tasked to make a litter traps to catch litter flowing down a river before it enters the sea. It was amazing to see how learrners ingeniously made floating lines from empty coke bottles and ploystryrene and traps out of orange bags and wire coat hanger frames. I wonderful day was had by all.