‘The beach looks so lovely. But I saw some bits of plastic.’ These were the words from one of the pupils of Our Lady’s RC Primary who was visiting the beach for the very first time as part of the #wildbottlesighting campaign with the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and the Have You Got The Bottle? (HYGTB) Campaign.
From land locked Perth to East Haven beach to Scottish Parliament pupils from Our Lady’s Primary have spent the last two years working with MCS & HYGTB to make connections between their school, the sea and what they can do to help stop the plastic tide hitting Scotland’s shores.
Focusing on plastic bottles after finding some in their playground pupils worked on highlighting the issue of single use plastic bottles and the solution of a deposit return system through the MCS #wildbottlesighting social media campaign.
From workshops, assemblies, beach cleans, media interviews, visits from Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham and a hugely successful stall at a Scottish Environment LINK parliamentary event this school have shown that no matter where you live, you can stand up and make a difference for our oceans.
The purpose and objectives of the project
The amazing work by Our Lady’s RC Primary School has just blown us away at MCS and HYGTB. Below covers some of the highlights and hopefully captures what started as an interest in protecting the ocean to a full campaign on a specific litter item by the pupils to show that no matter where you live or who you are you can stand up and make a difference for our natural world.
Two years ago MCS visited the school to deliver a single ‘Turtles in Trouble’ workshop for the Primary 3s as they were studying life underwater. The pupils were so enthusiastic and wanted to find out more about what they could do to help so last year MCS visited the school again to deliver ‘Turtles in Trouble’ workshops across the school as well as a full marine litter school assembly.
The #wildbottlesighting campaign
The pupils at Our Lady’s wanted to get involved in a campaign that would reduce litter turning up on beaches around Scotland but that they could work on from the centre of Perth. When MCS told them they were working on a campaign with HYGTB to ask the Scottish Government to put in place a Deposit Return System and needed help gathering evidence the pupils jumped right on board! They helped spread the word about the #wildbottlesighting campaign which asked people to report any littered bottles or cans they saw anywhere in the country to show the scale of the problem – this included ones spotted in the playground which inspired the link!
Meeting the Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham
The hard work of the pupils paid off when the Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham accepted their invitation to a special marine conservation assembly they had put together to show about what they had been working on.
To further their investigations two classes from the school met MCS and HYGTB at East Haven beach to do a beach clean and litter survey to see how many ‘wild bottles’ were ending up on our beaches.
Presenting at Parliament
Thanks to all of their work the Primary School were invited by Scottish Environment LINK to hold a stall with MCS and HYGTB at their ‘Generation Earth’ event in the Garden Lobby in Scottish Parliament.
What the children learnt
The P3 class sent in a document highlighting everything they had learnt during the entire project showing some amazing results. Here are a few favourites:
‘We didn’t know that…
Dog Whelks and other creatures live in shells and carry their shells with them.
We were sad to see …
Lots of litter we had to pick up
Plastic Bottles and some still had water inside
Lots of rubbish that we sang about in our ‘Under the Sea’ song
With a final summary of
‘We collected 24 kilos of rubbish – we were surprised it was so much. We learned that lots of people are dumping rubbish. We learned not to drop litter as it kills animals, especially those in the sea. Thank you for letting us visit the beach, especially those of us who were visiting the beach for the very first time. We were happy to pick up the litter to help the environment. We loved collecting shells too.’