A day to raise awareness with pupils on the tiny Breton island of Molène, in the Iroise sea, was held earlier this month. Lead by the Parc Naturel Marin d’Iroise (PNMI), PPP went to meet secondary school pupils on the island to discuss the issue of plastic pollution and raise awareness of ways in which it can and should be prevented.
The day was split between the classroom and hands-on activities on the island’s shores.
Classroom presentation and discussion
Pupils were introduced to the subject plastic pollution: history of plastic, facts and figures on plastic production at a global scale, the journey of plastics to the oceans, the degradation of plastics in the environment, and the impact of plastic pollution on marine fauna and flora. These themes were then focused in on the issues of plastic pollution in the Iroise, including : a presentation of the results obtained from the macro-waste monitoring carried out by the PNMI, and presentation of the actions carried out by the PNMI and PPP to combat plastic pollution.
In the afternoon, the activity moved outside, to the Molène Marine Educational Area, so that the pupils could observe the pollution of beaches by plastics more closely. Two activities took place:
1 – Observation of microplastics in the sediment
The first activity was to collect sediment on the beach, at the sea level, and to carry out a densimetric separation in order to suspend the microplastics contained in the sand. The aim of this activity was to make the pupils aware of the presence of microplastics in the sediments.
2 – Educational litter pick
At the end of this first activity, the pupils were invited to take part in an educational litter pick. They were encouraged to observe the different types of waste present on the beach, to discuss the activities that could lead to this type of pollution, and reminded of the impact that this plastic waste could have on fauna, flora, and human health.
A tidal bin project for the students
The pupils told the PNMI team about their desire to install a new tidal bin on Molène, more precisely on the island of Lédénez Vraz. They explained that this was an exposed area where a lot of stranded marine waste accumulates. Accessible by foot at low tide, the island is very popular with visitors during the summer season. According to the students, there is no equipment available to collect this waste, so the provision of a tidal bin in this area seems quite appropriate. As well as being useful tools to clean-up beaches, the tidal bins are considered as real indicator of the state of the environment as they allow the monitoring of the evolution of pollution which washes up with the tides.
If the students and the municipality reach an agreement on how to manage the waste from this tidal bin, the marine park could potentially finance its construction.
So far, 57 tidal bins have been funded and installed in the 17 municipalities of the Iroise , thanks to the Preventing Plastic Pollution project. And, 4 tidal bins are already installed on the island of Molène.