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Plastic pollution awareness on Ouessant island

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As part of the Preventing Plastic Pollution project, the partners CNRS, Océanopolis and the Parc Naturel Marin d’Iroise went to the island of Ouessant for two days to raise awareness of plastic pollution among schoolchildren and the island’s inhabitants. The various workshops carried out sought to explain the problem of plastic waste at sea as well as the consequences of pollution by microplastics on marine organisms. Particular attention was also paid to the management of waste in an island environment.

Fifteen secondary school students, from the 6th to the 3rd grade, took part in a first session of exchanges in class, with an initial information session on the research professions and then on the characteristics of plastics and microplastics. Then, the students were divided into three practical workshops.

  • The first workshop consisted of observing microalgae (oyster food) and coloured microplastics (polyethylene) under a microscope in order to explain how oysters feed and to raise the first questions in connection with the next workshop.
  • The second workshop aimed at setting up a scientific approach to observe and identify the impacts of microplastics on oysters (external link in French).
  • Finally, the last workshop was dedicated to identifying the different types and forms of plastics present in our daily lives: from textile fibres to industrial plastic granules (IPG) that can be found on beaches.

The next day, the facilitators and the pupils went to the Prat beach to collect macro-waste. Fishing nets, ropes, water bottles and cigarette butts were collected. The waste was then identified and counted according to the OSPAR protocol. The schoolchildren were then able to test the participatory science protocol developed by Océanopolis to collect and count microplastics. To do this, they took the first two centimetres of sediment at the most recent sea level and carried out a densimetric separation using a prototype.

The students then played the game of a “zero waste picnic” prepared by themselves: water bottles, bee wraps and reusable containers were all on the menu.

The afternoon ended with a workshop, initiated by the Association des Iles du Ponant and the Parc Naturel Régional d’Armorique, with a dozen eco-actors and inhabitants of the island of Ouessant. Discussions revolved around microplastics, related research activities, the use of the Océanopolis participative science kit and the involvement of everyone in the ecological transition on the island.

These awareness-raising days with schoolchildren and the island’s inhabitants will have led to the creation of new projects involving PPP partners and Ouessant island stakeholders. Exchanges are underway to involve the schoolchildren in the work carried out on the management of illegal dumping, led by the Iroise Natural Marine Park. The school also wants to get involved in the long-term participatory science project, which will provide new data on plastics for the PPP project. The first meeting of the island’s eco-actors will also have enabled exchanges to be launched around various projects such as the use of tidal bins or the creation of a recycling centre on the island.

 

Plastik Panic in the ocean: the exhibition facing the harbor

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Thursday 29 April 2021 was inaugurated the exhibition “Plastik Panic in the Ocean”, in the presence of three vice-presidents of Brest Métropole, members of LEMAR and the scientific mediation team of Océanopolis.

This exhibition of 16 large-format photographs has been installed on the Promenade du Moulin Blanc, outside Océanopolis. Free of charge and accessible to all walkers, it will remain visible, facing the most beautiful harbour in the world, that of Brest of course, until 7 November 2021.

 

From left to right: Ika PAUL-PONT, Yohann NEDELEC (vice-president of Brest métropole in charge of major projects), Arnaud HUVET, Tristan FOVEAU (vice-president of Brest métropole in charge of sustainable waste management), Laurent PERON (vice-president of Brest métropole in charge of the coast) and Erwan AMICE.

 

Combining scientific and artistic contributions, the aim of the exhibition is to raise awareness among as wide a public as possible of the problems of plastic pollution in our oceans and to support actions in favour of sober use and responsible consumption. The photographs on display show this pollution on our coastline, from the macro to the micro-waste, we follow the scientists from the sampling to the laboratory and end up with concrete solutions and ways to act. This scientific mediation and awareness-raising initiative is part of the objectives of the Preventing Plastic Pollution (PPP) project.

This exhibition is the result of a partnership between members of LEMAR and the scientific mediation teams of Océanopolis, with the support of Brest-Métropôle. We learned of the sudden death of its initiator, Anne Rognant a few days before this inauguration. We would like to pay tribute here to the inspiring woman she was, and to her immeasurable work for the sharing of knowledge.

<Design and production : Océanopolis & Laboratoire des Sciences de l’Environnement Marin (LEMAR)
Photographs: © Erwan Amice / CNRS – © Sébastien Hervé / UBO – © Ifremer / Stephane Lesbats – © Esther Nonnonhou / Le Mans Université – © Maria-Luisa PEDROTTI / Marie-Emmanuelle KERROS / Groupe IMME / LOV / CNRS Photothèque – © Cyril FRESILLON / OOV / LOV / CNRS Photothèque
Text: Ika Paul-Pont (CNRS), Arnaud Huvet (Ifremer), Sébastien Hervé (UBO), Erwan Amice (CNRS), Anne Rognant (Océanopolis), Tristan Hatin (Océanopolis), Lionel Feuillassier (Océanopolis)

 

More information on the Océanopolis website

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