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Teachers: Citizenship: Globalisation Environmental

Last Updated: Wednesday March 23 2005 14:42 GMT

Sea pollution: How can we stop it?

Citizenship 11-14/KS3/Levels E&F
Globalisation - environmental implications


Litter on beach
The biggest ever survey of Britain's beaches has shown they're covered in more rubbish than ever before.

The UK coastline is home to thousands of different species of aquatic life and sea birds.

But sewage, chemicals, plastic and litter are having a devastating effect on their water world.

Students test their knowledge of sea litter with a quiz and design an anti-pollution sticker.

Learning aims
  • Facts about sea pollution
  • How litter affects marine life
  • Ways to reduce pollution

Read out this story to the class.

A beach

Ask students the following questions:
They are available as a printable worksheet. Click on the link in the blue box.

  • 1. How many beaches were examined? 269 beaches.
  • 2. How frequently did the volunteers find litter? Every 50cm along the coastline.
  • 3. How does the amount of beach rubbish now, compare to the amount 10 years ago? It has gone up by 82 per cent over the last 10 years.
  • 4. How does plastic litter harm marine life? Animals die because they eat or get tangled up in plastic litter like nets and bags.
  • 5. What should you do with your litter? Put it in the bin, take it home, recycle it where you can.
Warm up

A plastic fork sticks out of the sand after being washed up by the sea on the beaches in Prestwick, Scotland

Students test their knowledge of sea pollution in the UK with this quiz.

Answers for the quiz:
1c , 2a , 3 b, 4b , 5a , 6b , 7c

Main activity

A tyres is washed up by the sea on the beaches in Prestwick, Scotland

Read out this Press Pack to the class.

From Iain's report, make two class lists:

  • Objects Iain found washed up on the beach
  • Marine life that can be harmed by sea pollution
Students chose one item from the list of objects washed up on the beach.

They design a sticker to put on it, or it's packaging, warning buyers to dispose of it properly.

The sticker should include:

  • Image
  • Slogan e.g. Save our seas
  • Description of how the item can harm marine life
  • Instructions on how to dispose of it properly
Extension activity

Iain and his classmates came up with some ideas to deal with sea pollution:

  • A tax on plastic bags/packaging
  • Fines for those caught dumping waste and litter
  • More research into ways of keeping the environment clean
Students write a letter to the Minster for the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), persuading them to carry out one of these ideas.

The letter should contain:

  • An introductory sentence explaining who you are and why you are interested in the environment.
  • A paragraph about sea pollution in the UK and the marine life affected.
  • A description of your chosen idea to reduce pollution.
  • An explanation as to how it would work.
  • A paragraph about the positive effects of putting the idea into practice.
  • A closing sentence.

Students present their stickers to the rest of the class.

They explain how they their logo, slogan and words will encourage people to reduce pollution.

Teachers' background

Tyres, plastic bottles and general rubbish washed up by the sea litter the beaches in Prestwick, Scotland

The special section on sea pollution contains:

  • a video
  • a web chat with Newsround presenter Laura, who reports in the video
  • a guide
  • children's comments
  • pictures
  • a quiz

For hundreds more news-based lessons, click on Teachers on the left hand side.

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