Alexandra's CAS Journey

Plastic Patrol

On February 2nd, World Wetlands Day, the ReefKeepers organized a neighborhood sweep and brand audit. Over 40 members of the OSC community came together to collect trash from around the school’s neighborhood. Our objective was to not only clean up our neighborhood and help clear out the waterways that could potentially lead to the ocean but also to bring attention to the packaging materials our local companies use. The pollution in our waterways and our ocean is an issue of global importance as “every day approximately 8 million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our oceans” (Surfers Against Sewage), this affects the health of marine life around the world. 

During the past few months, we have been working on organizing this event during our weekly service sessions. In addition meeting outside of our sessions during lunchtime and after school since I am the service leader and I was in charge of the initiative. On the Saturday before the event, Talia, Ms. Clover, and I met up to try out the three routes beforehand, checking how long it took, and anything we need to look out when leading our group.

The poster I created for this event using Canva.

The day started at 9:00am with checking everyone in and giving them gloves. More people attended the event than we expected which posed a problem for the number of gloves we had since we did not want to use plastic single-use gloves and instead bought gardening gloves that we can reuse in a future beach or neighborhood sweep. For the people who did not have gloves, we gave out old veggie bags that were created with the wrong material to pick up the trash. We then split into groups, gave out rice bags, explained the plan for the event, and highlighted some things to stay away from for safety reasons.

Signing in before the walk.

I then led my group out of school and along the orange route using the interactive maps I created using Google My Maps. We walked along both sides of the road and collected the trash in the rice bags.

The three routes I created for the event.

Reefkeepers walking along the route collecting the trash.

Zubeyda with her rice bag full of trash collected along the Orange route.

It was a huge success. Covering 5.4km of roads split up into 3 routes, we collected discarded packages, wrappers, bottles, cans and containers to fill over 30 rice bags full of trash. We then sorted the collected waste by their brands.

Sorting the collected waste (Ms. Clover)

We found that the highest contributors to plastic pollution in our area by brand were: Nestle, Maliban, Anchor, Kotmale, Highland, Perfetti Van Melle, Munchee, the Coca Cola Company and Gold Leaf tobacco. 

Then in Reefkeeper sessions afterward, I uploaded all the data collected to breakfreefromplastic. We packed the trash into boxes and sent them to the companies in order to convince them to create sustainable packaging for their products. I also created Instagram posts to share our findings and call out the companies.

Links to the Interactive Google My Maps I created for Plastic Patrol:

Orange Route Map

Blue Route Map

Green Route Map

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