Students try to seal the loop
03 Jul 2012
By Georgina Hoggett
Melbourne City School (MCS) students are campaigning for action to prevent Victoria Harbour’s seals from danger posed by waste fishing line.
The primary students have been to the Docklands a number of times and have noticed plastic waste floating in the water. And then they met Silva the seal at Melbourne Zoo
Silva is a happy and playful seal, but students soon noticed the huge scar on her neck, the result of becoming entangled in a plastic fishing line, a horrific accident which almost killed her.
Shocked, the students listened as zoo education officers helped them understand the harm that discarded waste can cause to marine life.
When visiting Docklands again and thinking about Silva, the students made the decision that action needed to be taken.
“I was very worried when I saw the amount of rubbish and fishing lines floating in the water – seals could choke or become tangled and die. It was very upsetting. We wouldn’t want to live in it, why should seals?” said Bella, from year four.
The walk back from Docklands was abuzz with conversation about how marine life could be protected from the devastating effects that waste such as plastic bags, bottles, fishing lines and nets can have if they are discarded in our waters.
Following further research, discussion and reflection, students decided upon a Docklands Clean-Up Day to raise awareness and also to implement the longer-term strategy of raising funds for the Melbourne City Council to install Seal the Loop Bins.
Seal the Loop bins are made from recycled plastic, and are specially designed to collect fishing waste and help reduce the rate of marine life entanglement.
Student representative and learning advisor Beth Stewart has met with the City of Melbourne’s Waterway Unit to identify locations for the bins and discuss how the MCS students’ campaign could be incorporated into the Recreational Fishing Strategy.
Ms Stewart has watched and encouraged as students have developed ways of raising funds for their Seal the Loop campaign.
“It has allowed students to consider ways in which they can make a difference, link to the local community and fostered a collaborative attitude that has supported them in all other areas of their learning,” she said.
At $150 per bin, Melbourne City School students are aiming big – one bin will not be enough! Last month students from Years 3 and 4 hosted a market day with stalls selling cupcakes, sandwiches and environmentally-friendly, reusable canvas shopper bags embellished with hand-designed, eco-messages.
The students’ hard work paid off with $425 being raised by the event, ensuring students are well on the way to their aim of four Seal the Loop bins for Docklands.
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