Most plastic pollution at sea starts out on land as litter on beaches, streets and sidewalks. After plastics enter the marine environment they slowly photodegrade into smaller pieces that marine life can mistake for food, sometimes with fatal results. Ocean gyres concentrate plastic pollution in five main areas of the world’s ocean and various research groups are bringing back alarming data documenting plastics impacts.
Plastic waste threatens lakes as well as oceans. The problem of large amounts of plastic polluting the world's oceans has been well documented in recent years. As well as bigger pieces that can choke sea creatures when ingested, there is an equally serious issue with very small fragments called micro-plastics.
Marine Oil Spill Lab: Great inquiry lab to get kids thinking about the environment, problem-solving, and how much more difficult it would be to clean up a real oil spill. Website has as detailed teacher instructions as well as a downloadable copy of the lab.