Irish Aid Award Project: The Plastic Ocean

5thclass are partaking in this year’s Irish Aid awards and have decided to focus on Global Goal 14 ‘Life under Water’ and Global Goal 12 ‘Responsible Consumption’. Their project ‘The Plastic Ocean’ examines the effect plastic pollution is having on our seas and marine life.

We took a trip to Bray harbour & beach on Monday 9thApril where we observed all the litter that washes up in the seaweed. It was very upsetting to see the beautiful swans having to step through plastic, tin cans, bottles & other rubbish in the harbour. We spent time doing a beach clean and we brought 5 sacks or rubbish back to school! We completed a workshop in Sealife Bray on the effects pollution is having on our marine life. Did you know it can take 450 years for a plastic bottle to break down? And that there are parts of the ocean bed that humans have not reached but plastic has? This is what is happening here in Ireland and all around the world.


Back in school we began spreading the message to reduce your use of plastic, reuse where possible and always recycle. We created a piece of art using the plastic we found in Bray Harbour, we created board game to play in other classes and we wrote a performed a play. Our media team shared the message on Twitter, created a documentary of our trip to Bray beach and prepared our digital entry to the Irish Aid awards. Everyone wrote letters to important government officials including our Taoiseach & President.


On Friday 13thApril we held a whole school assembly and showed everyone what we had created. We made posters which are now hanging around the school asking everyone to reduce their plastic intake. We gave each class tips on how to reduce, reuse, recycle! Back in class we examined the developing countries that are affected by plastic pollution. One such country is Vietnam. 20 years ago there was no plastic in Vietnam but now with huge number of tourists visiting, they have become one of the top 5 pollutants of plastic in the ocean. This is having a huge effect on the local fishermen and subsequently the food chain.  So when you go on holidays, bring your reusable bottles & coffee cups!!

As part of our campaign to reduce the use of plastic consumption, 5thclass asks you to consider your own use of plastic items and to consider if there is any action you can engage in to change. Using a reusable water bottle or coffee cup can make a massive difference to the quantity of plastic produced and discarded. Similarly, using reusable bags when shopping has helped Ireland’s plastic waste reduce.  Here are our top tips!

  • Use reusable drink bottles, coffee cups & lunch boxes
  • Hand down old toys
  • Stop using plastic straws
  • Use reusable shopping bags
  • Buy fruit & veg loose
  • Take part in beach cleans
  • Don’t chew gum
  • Make art from litter
  • Make your own cleaning products
  • Reuse cleaning product bottles
  • Teachers reduce laminating
  • Cover schoolbooks in paper not plastic
  • Try to buy products from recycled plastic
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle at all times


And we’re not finished there! Our project is only the beginning of a yearlong action plan! We still have more action to take;

  1. We surveyed 1st-6th class to see what they know about marine litter & responsible consumption. We will survey them again at the end of June and again at Christmas to see how much everyone has learned!
  2. We have are hoping Zara’s cousin, an oceanographer, will come and speak to our class about marine pollution.
  3. We have invited RTE News2day to come see & share our project and share it with the whole of Ireland!
  4. We will complete a visual exhibition of the timeline breakdown of marine pollution.
  5. Our Green Schools committee are going to use the project to kick start our work on our 8thGreen Flag; ‘Global Citizenship – Marine Life’

So watch this space for more information and join our campaign to reduce plastic and return our oceans back to their former beauty!

Thank you,


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