Discovery in microplastics search

RESEARCH: Back, Lachlan Smart, Zac Coombes, Cooper Matters, Thomas Turner, Bailey Matters, front, Keira Berryman, Chloe Phelan and Taylah Bennett.
RESEARCH: Back, Lachlan Smart, Zac Coombes, Cooper Matters, Thomas Turner, Bailey Matters, front, Keira Berryman, Chloe Phelan and Taylah Bennett.

Cleve Area School students are taking part in research looking for microplastics on beaches across the country.

Microplastics are small fragments of broken down plastics such as bottles, straws, bags and other debris and rubbish, and can pose a significant threat to marine life.

The year 8 class headed to Arno Bay on Wednesday and selected samples from a 50 by five metre area of the beach to sift through, searching for signs of pollution.

Ahead of the excursion, student Keira Berryman spoke to her classmates about her passion for protecting the Eyre Peninsula coast line from microplastics.

Keira is a member of the Youth Environment Council, a group of young environmentalists who meet at camps in Adelaide to learn about the environment and share their passion with their peers.

She said her passion for the environment came from living near the coast at Lipson Cove, a place currently home to a pod of about 16 dolphins.

"Ever since I was little I've always been picking up rubbish on the beach when I see it," she said.

She said she has been interested in combatting pollution since a dolphin was found washed ashore at the cove when she was about eight years old.

"I've seen the impacts of it and it really hurts me... I want to do something about it," she said.

As part of her time with the Youth Environment Council, Keira recently gave a presentation about the dangers of plastics which included an art project made from rubbish she had picked up on her own beach.

"I had a big pile and thought I needed to do something about it, she said."

During the excursion, Keira's class discovered four micro-samples which they believe to have come from sealant from a boat.

The samples will be sent away for further testing to identify their origin, with the data set to be added to research from beaches across the country.