Marine Institute

Joining the wave of ditching plastics – say #No to Plastic in our seas

September 14, 2018

Leave no trace at SeaFest. Photo Andrew Downes, XPOSURELeave No Trace Ireland and the Marine Institute's Explorers Education Programme aim to highlight the impact of plastics in our oceans, at the 2018 Ploughing Championships held in Tullamore, Co Offaly (19th – 21st September), with a particular focus on helping people reduce their daily use of single-use plastics.

Members of the public are invited to come and visit us at: Block 3; Row 13; Stand 279 with the Department of Community and Rural Affairs.

"A truckload of plastic waste finds its way into the ocean every minute of every day, and it is estimated that by 2050 there could be more plastic by weight than fish in the ocean unless behaviours change. Although we are all contributing to this world wide epidemic, recent campaigns such as say #No to Plastic have generated an amazing amount of supporters at community levels – particularly with children and families wanting to create change," explained Maura Lyons, CEO Leave No Trace Ireland.

With the research being completed in Ireland and around the world, results of plastics making their way into the ocean are showing a significant impact on the marine environment and animals. Unprecedented levels of microscopic plastic particles were recently detected in an oceanic survey carried out by phytoplankton, biotoxin and oceanographic scientists from the Marine Institute.

From the larger plastics to clothes fibres from our washing machines, all making their way into the ocean, visitors to the Leave No Trace – Explorers Education stand at the Ploughing Championships will get an opportunity to learn how long it takes for single use plastic to break down, as well as receiving tips on how to go plastic free. Those attending will also get to see live native marine species that are typically found in rock pools around the Irish coast including dogfish, plaice and starfish in the Explorers display boat.

"It is great to see an increased interest from children, schools, communities and businesses in Ireland that have already committed to reducing single-use plastics by offering alternatives for customers. These small changes can result in big impacts, which will help encourage a change in behaviours. Attending the Ploughing Championships we would love to see the wider communities and decision makers engaging in saying #No to Plastic and help ditch single use plastics completely", said Ms Lyons.

The Explorers Education Programme, funded and supported by the Marine Institute, is available for schools to take part in throughout a number of coastal counties in Ireland. The unique programme involves the use of saltwater aquariums in the classroom; seashore safaris on local beaches; marine based projects about species, habitats and environmental care; as well as a range of workshops. For more information, please visit www.explorers.ie or www.leavenotraceireland.org

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