GGHS citizen scientists add to national litter data base

GGHS citizen scientists add to national litter data base

Gisborne Girls High School students are making a hands-on contribution to a three-year national litter data project and Kaiti Beach will be getting a regular spruce up in the process!

The enthusiastic eco-warriors are working with charity organisation Sustainable Coastlines on its citizen scientist Litter Project, with sponsorship from Eastland Port.

On Thursday [23 May] eleven year 10 to 13 students took part in the beach clean-up and litter analysis under the watchful eye of Sustainable Coastline mentors.

It was the first in a regular cycle of Kaiti Beach clean-up and surveys as the girls help Sustainable Coastlines learn more about the global problem of marine pollution on local beaches.

For student Sabine Lapointe it was a chance to get outside and help make a difference. Maia Ingoe felt the same. “The data we collected today, and the information from the next times we do it, will help Tairawhiti, New Zealand, and eventually the world, learn more about the problem and the solutions.”

In line with the project’s parameters the same 100m by 20m metre stretch of beach near the high-tide mark is surveyed each time.

On Thursday a tee-shirt, tape bubble-gum dispensers, ear buds, and tinfoil along with many indeterminate bits of plastic were collected during the Kaiti Beach sweep.

The citizen scientists then used space at Eastland Port to analyse the litter. It was categorized and weighed. One student’s job was to feed the live local information directly into a national data base.

GGHS teacher Rita Halley oversaw the beach visit. She says the girls were naturally curious. They enjoyed seeing the logistics involved, getting outside, and knowing they were contributing to a nationwide movement.

“It’s experiences like this that enable them to take an active role in society now, and I suspect for many of them, into the future.”

Kaiti Beach is one of over 100 beaches to have its litter analysed in the nationwide three-year Sustainable Coastlines citizen science project.

With their training now complete GGHS, with the support of Eastland Port, will carry out the next survey under their own steam.