A few weeks ago our class, Room 15 at Kaitaia Intermediate, walked down to the Awanui River because we are learning about the environment and its issues.

We learnt it was tidal, and that it was overflowing with rubbish. We are concerned that in the future it could become toxic, and we don't want the next generation to see that.

This problem is disgusting, and killing our marine life and birds. It is also affecting us, even if you don't think so.

The river is home to pie wrappers, McDonald's straws, lolly wrappers, various lids, plastic bottles and bags. What do these items have in common? They are all plastic. It is quite horrifying to know that something can be done about it, and nothing's actually happening.

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It seems to us that people are not fazed by seeing the river banks strewn with plastic bottles and other litter. We will not tolerate the air of indifference from these people in our community, and wish to inform your readers of some grim facts about the Plastic Apocalypse.

All this rubbish will someday arrive at the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, so here are some facts about these gyres in our oceans.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch can also be described as the Pacific trash vortex. It is a gyre of marine debris particles in the central North Pacific Ocean. The patch is located roughly between 135°W to 155°W and 35°N to 42°N. It was discovered between 1985 and 1988.

The collection of plastic floats halfway between Hawaii and California. It extends over an intermediate (not exactly known, established, or defined) area of widely varying range, depending on the degree of plastic concentration used to define the affected area.

The patch is characterised by exceptionally high relative pelagic concentrations of plastic, chemical sludge and other debris that have been trapped by the currents of the North Pacific Gyre.

Despite the common public image of islands of floating rubbish, its low density (four particles per cubic metre) prevents detection by satellite imagery, or even by casual boaters or divers in the area. It consists primarily of an increase in suspended, often microscopic particles in the upper water column.

That's just some of the facts of about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Microplastics are what the plastic turns into when it reaches the ocean, so we are going to provide some information about that as well.

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Microplastics can come from a variety of sources, including larger plastic pieces that have broken apart, resin pellets used for plastic manufacturing, or in the form of microbeads (which are small manufactured plastic beads used in health and beauty products).

Our class is also interested in water-testing the Awanui River. We have started by contacting the Mayor, John Carter. We are hoping for a reply soon.

Backing down is not an option when we can make people aware and stop this monstrosity.

That's why we, the students of Room 15, are sending a letter every day to the Mayor. And that's just the beginning. We are committed to making an impact on this topic. Our movement will never stop until everyone starts doing something about it.

We have also invited the Mayor, John Carter, to visit our class to listen to speeches and watch presentations. We want the whole of New Zealand to know about this horrific mess.

MRS CHARTERIS-AXE AND THE YEAR 7/8 STUDENTS
Room 15, Kaitaia Intermediate School