Some Carihi chemistry students are asking the public to think more carefully about how they dispose of their waste after they were asked to conduct an action project related to green chemistry and humanity’s effects on the planet.
Being that we have such immediate access to beaches and oceans, a group of four decided to focus on the negative effects of plastics in Canada, and particularly in Campbell River.
After researching the strenuous amounts of garbage that end up in our waterways, Lola Critchlow, Brianna Pollock, Raegan Rollins, and Leana Messmer decided to spend an afternoon picking up whatever waste they could find along one of our shorelines, and their findings were put in a display case by Carihi’s main office.
“As a group, we were all quite shocked and surprised about how much we actually found, [as well as] what kind of plastic pollution ends up in our oceans,” Critchlow says, adding she was personally shocked by what – and how much – waste the group found on our shores.
“We only spent three hours on the beaches with three people,” she says, “and got about seven large garbage bags and six grocery bags of garbage, and that was really sad to see.”
Critchlow also says that in order to present their findings on a more global scale, the girls decided to start a blog to “inform more international people of what’s happening to our oceans and what’s actually in there.”
Following the results of the students’ cleanup, Carihi’s STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) group has proposed the idea of conducting monthly beach cleanups to combat ocean pollution in our community.
“We’ll be doing it as part of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, which means that we’ll be collecting data on the kind of waste we are collecting,” says STEM organizer and Carihi chemistry teacher Thomas Diesch. “We’ll be able to do some baseline analysis and send that in to contribute to their overall research.”
Diesch says that the STEM team is going to continue with the activity “hopefully monthly,” as it aligns with one of the club’s main philosophies.
“In general, STEM is all about offering experiences beyond the things that you do between the four walls of a classroom, and thinking about some activities that are more hands-on,” Diesch says.
The first cleanup date is set for Wednesday, March 13th from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.
The STEM team will be meeting in the parking lot of Ken Ford Park, and members of the community are welcome to join.
Volunteers are encouraged to sign up through the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup’s website (shorelinecleanup.ca) and register to attend.