Tag Archives: Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Surfrider Foundation Speaks at Hamlin

On April 6, Eva Holman from Surfrider Foundation spoke with our middle school students. This year we have had several speakers focused on our Ocean Awareness eco-theme. Ms. Holman added to the conversation with a clear passion for preserving our Oceans.

Surfrider is a community of everyday people who passionately protect our playground – the ocean, waves, and beaches that provide us so much enjoyment. We ensure clean water, healthy ocean and coastlines and accessible beaches for all to enjoy by finding lasting solutions to the threats our ocean faces.

Ms. Holman made the following key points (among others):

-Landfill is where our garbage is dumped and indefinitely preserved in anaerobic environments. When I say anaerobic I mean we pile layer after layer of garbage creating this mummified tomb that pollutes the ground and the air.

-Recycling makes us feel good right? So happy that here in California we have such great recycling programs. There’s an unfortunate truth about recycling, we should really call it hope cycling or wish cycling, where when you throw something into a recycling bin you should make a wish and hope that it gets recycled.

-Of the 300 million tons of plastics that are produced annually in the United States only 10% are actually captured for recycling.

-To complicate things more, there are many different types of plastic that melt at different rates. Each time a plastic is processed for recycling it loses integrity and becomes a lesser quality product. A plastic bottle isn’t recycled into another plastic bottle, it’s down cycled into something like a plastic bag that is just eventual garbage. 

-The great Pacific garbage patch is twice the size of Texas. There are five main subtropical oceanic convergent zones, which is to say where currents meet and create a whirlpool effect. These are called 5 gyres. The debris that is carried into these gyres is not floating at the top but rather suspended throughout the entire water column. 

-Plastic is mistaken for food. Researchers have been documenting the ingestion of plastics by all manner of sea life, from zooplankton to whales and all the creatures in between

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Students Win 1st Place at International Ocean Film Festival

On March 11, four dynamic Grade 7 filmmakers won first place in the middle school student section of the 15th Annual International Ocean Film Festival held in San Francisco, California. Allie, Avery, Dani, and Helena, were recognized for their film, Strawbucks.

Strawbucks is a short film that interweaves detailed information connecting the use of plastic straws (in businesses like Starbucks), to the growing Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The film utilizes interviews with Hamlin students to create a powerful narrative, urging viewers to replace their plastic straws with ones that are more environmentally friendly (metal, glass).

You can watch the film below: