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

Late night house fire in Esquimalt causes $100,000 damage

Fire crews arrived to see smoke and flames coming from a home on Bowlsby Place

Video store in Langford shares secret to survival in the streaming age

Store manager, Tawny Artel, is happy kids can still pick out a movie in a store

Milano Roasters brings award-winning coffee to Victoria

New Government Street location downtown open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Vancouver Island pharmacist suspended for giving drugs with human placenta

RCMP had samples of the seized substances tested by Health Canada

Saanich gives Townley Lodge a break as council spars over policy

Greater Victoria Housing Society (GVHS) to receive $128,000 from Saanich for $20.5 million project

UrbaCity raises record-breaking $70,000 for Island Prostate Centre

240 racers, corporate sponsors fill the coffers for the cause

B.C. MP Cannings spared brunt of Ottawa tornadoes

MP Richard Cannings was spared the impact of the tornadoes that hit the Ottawa region

Vancouver Island designated as foreign trade zone

Designation simplifies importing and exporting and provides duty relief

Edmonton cannabis company revenues more than triples to $19.1 million

Aurora Cannabis revenues more than triple in fourth quarter

Seattle one step closer to NHL after arena plan approved

Seattle City Council unanimously approved plans for a privately funded $700 million renovation of KeyArena

Harvest Moon to light up B.C. skies with an ‘autumn hue’

It’s the first moon after the autumn equinox

Hockey league gets $1.4M for assistance program after Humboldt Broncos crash

Program will help players, families, coaches and volunteers after the shock of the deadly crash

Most Read