A message from kids in Tokyo and New York City about marine litter -
Fourth grade students from a school in Tokyo and a school in New York City worked simultaneously on reducing local plastic litter that contributes to plastic marine pollution in our oceans across the globe.
Students in both schools first studied all about plastic litter issues, then conducted efforts in their respective local communities to reduce street litter. They spoke via video chat to share their experiences and ideas!
These fourth graders, living on opposite sides of the globe, found out that both of their cities have similar problems with plastic litter and that by sharing ideas, they can act locally to make a global impact.
Hirai Elementary School in Edogawa Ward, Tokyo is located near Arakawa River, which is the students’ favorite place to visit. The local community also has strong ties to this river. But the river bed is covered with plastic bottles, plastic foam, and many other types of plastic litter.The Hirai Elementary School 4th graders learned how street litter can be carried into the river, ending up as marine litter and killing animals.
Assisted by the environmental organization, Arakawa Clean-Aid, the Hirai Elementary School students conducted a litter clean-up and survey along the Arakawa River bed. They were shocked to find so much plastic litter, but excited to have the opportunity to take action to reduce the amounts of litter. The students also collected microplastics - tiny bits of plastics that are entering our food web at alarming rates.
Students from PS 15 Patrick F. Daly Elementary School in Red Hook, Brooklyn, New York City worked with Cafeteria Culture, an environmental education and advocacy organization, learning how street litter flows into the NYC waterways, threatening the health of the ocean, marine wildlife, and our seafood web. Students conducted a street litter survey and clean-up to find out exactly how much and what types of litter are found on their neighborhood streets. They visited a nearby beach, located on the Valentino Pier at the mouth of NYC’s East River, to collect microplastics. They took the microplastics back to school and examined them closely under microscopes.
PS 15 students also participated in in a Socratic discussion on the pros and cons of charging a 5-cent fee on plastic shopping bags. They made reusable cloth bags from donated t-shirts and gave away the bags to neighbors, sharing messages and hopes to reduce plastic litter in their Red Hook neighborhood.
Watch this video and be inspired by these passionate 4th graders in Tokyo and NYC. Then take action to reduce plastic marine pollution in your own community.
Produced by Tokyo Metropolitan Government
Directed and Edited by Atsuko Satake Quirk, Media Director at CafeteriaCulture.org.
Special thanks to the 4th grade students, teachers and administrators at Hirai Elementary School in Edogawa Ward, Tokyo and PS 15 Patrick F Daly Elementary School in Red Hook, Brooklyn, New York City.