There is a great opportunity right now for high school students to get involved in creative solutions to our growing plastic problem in our very own backyard. The Pacific Garbage Patch lies thousands of miles off the western coast of the United states in the Pacific Ocean(although it is only one of 5 that exists on our planet), where plastics ranging in size from large floating food containers to small particles that wildlife such as fish and birds mistake for food. With the birth and boom of the chemical industry in the 1950s, the way we have produced plastic for the last 60 years is finally ending up in disaster. The planet is big, but soon enough all of our wastefulness and single-use items will show up in our backyards- our oceans, our rivers- to a point where we cannot deny that it isn’t a problem anymore.
Algalita Marine Research Foundation has organized an event for youth to become involved in this issue by getting together in groups to generate ideas on how to solve this problem. Their four main goals for this gathering are: 1. To learn about plastic pollution, 2. to come up with a solution, 3. to submit a project, 4. to attend the summit. If the solution is one of the chosen, that entire group is then able to travel and participate in the summit, all expenses paid.
Not only is this a highly inventive approach to solve this global issue, but is a really unique experience for young people to get to participate in solving such an issue amongst scientists and their peers.