Students Thom Verzantvoort, Pippin Pama, Molly Pearce, Jelte Schuurmansscour scour local beaches for plastics of all sizes and types. (Submitted photo)

Student study finds recyclable plastic prolific on Oak Bay beaches

Oak Bay High renews its water work with visiting Netherlands students

All types of plastic make an appearance on local shorelines, says a study by Oak Bay High students working alongside their peers from the Netherlands.

The study is part of ongoing work, both in class and as extracurricular activity, to study water in the community. This year, students embarked on a mission to determine which what types of plastics are washing ashore and if they’re recyclable.

During a presentation for a small crowd of parents, teachers, school officials, Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen and other interested residents, students outlined the methods used for gathering information on plastic pollutants plucked from area beaches.

“Plastics have so many terrible effects on the environment and they could so easily be prevented by just thinking about where plastic is going, not throwing it away or just leaving it on the ground where you are,” said student Astrid Hawkes, explaining the bioaccumulation of plastics in the food chain. Small marine life start eating the tiny bits of plastic, working up the food chain to human impact. They also documented impacts on animals, for example showing a bird with plastic filling its digestive system, killing it.

The students from both Oak Bay and Maurick analyzed levels of plastics at Oak Bay’s Willows Beach, Cadboro Bay and French Beach in Sooke. They broke down plastics found at the local beaches by type.

The two major types of plastic found at Cadboro Bay and Willows beaches were #4-LDPE, (low density polyethylene) and #5-PP.

And there was a lot of it, as discovered last year, during a similar project. Then students found Cadboro Bay held the highest level of plastic pollutants with 53.4 per cent of the weight, Willows beach had 20.2 per cent, Mystic Beach at 21.2 per cent and French Beach a 4.7 per cent.

This year, they discovered #5-PP as the top offiender. Used for items such as yogurt containers and bottles, it’s an easily recyclable plastic and part of most community recycling programs. It can be recycled into bicycle racks, brooms, bins and more, but was abundant on both beaches.

The second most found was #4 LDPE, which is technically recyclable, but not often accepted at community recycle programs, students found. When recycled, it becomes milk cartons or grocery bags.

The students also outlined their four-student visit to the Netherlands last school year, where they engaged in a project with Maurick College, studying the the salt marshes and mud banks of a nature reserve where the town of Saeftnghe once sat.

Students from Oak Bay and Maurick previously collaborated on a Bowker Creek water study, taking that information to share during the Water is Life Conference last year in the Netherlands.


 

@OakBayNews
cvanreeuwyk@oakbaynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

A slide from the Oak Bay High and Maurick College presentation on this year’s look at plastics on a trio of local beaches. It indicates plastic types found on Willows Beach in Oak Bay High. A slide from the Oak Bay High and Maurick College presentation on this year’s look at plastics on a trio of local beaches. It indicates plastic types found on Willows Beach in Oak Bay High.

Rachel Kastens and James Miller explain about trapzones on Willows Beach during an outline of the methodology of the study. (Christine van Reeuwyk/Oak Bay News)

Just Posted

CRD divided over fire dispatch, agrees to investigate single site option

‘Saanich taxpayers have been subsidizing fire dispatch in the region for several years’

GALLERY: Oak Bay senior boys take first game in Gary Taylor basketball tournament

Jordan Burke wins Man of the Match honours in 106-54 win over Cowichan

Two vehicle crash near VicPD sends one to hospital

The driver of a scooter was placed in an ambulance after being struck by a blue car

#MeToo at work: How reporting sexual harassment works – and how it doesn’t

British Columbians have four options to report harassment or assault, but none of them are easy

Clover Point amenities plan for sewage line projects 50 parking spots lost

New bike path proposed to be built on top of Dallas Road sewer line

VIDEO: Nellie Stock – 40 years of teaching swimming and winning hearts

Clients and friends came out to honour Stock’s 40 years of service to Recreation Oak Bay

Firefighter dies, thousands more take on California blaze

This is second death linked to the Thomas fire, northwest of Los Angeles

AHUS patient Shantee Anaquod is home for Christmas

Less than a month after receiving first dose of $750K drug, 23 year old healthy enough to go home

Moose calves rescued in northern B.C. are ‘golden nuggets:’ researcher

Calves discovered near Prince George in late May. Mother had been killed by a car

Missing Alberta man could be headed to Victoria

Police in Alberta say Vernon “Allan” Pickard has not been heard from since late November

Cineplex charges extra at some Star Wars screenings

Fans are getting a surprise twist at the box office with extra $1 charges for assigned seating

Toddler sent to hospital following dog bite at Vancouver Island daycare

Malamute/husky cross involved in incident at 1200-block of Burnside Rd. West

Provincial Contractor of the Year awards handed out across B.C.

Deputy Minister’s 2017 awards recognize excellence in transportation and infrastructure

Myers high on Canada

AT RANDOM: Mike Myers says it right, eh

Most Read