Does Plastic Litter Affect Sea Water Temperature and pH?
Organization(s):Gozo College, Middle School
Student(s):Hannah Vella, Eliza Stellini, Josephine Valletta Caruana, Andrew Zerafa, Martina Grima, Mariah Borg, Julian Saliba, Audrey Micallef, Maya Bajada, Janice Xuereb, Maria Spiteri, Ana Abela
Grade Level:Middle School (grades 6-8, ages 11-14)
GLOBE Teacher(s):Ramona Mercieca
Contributors:Ms Claudia Caro
Report Type(s):International Virtual Science Symposium Report
Protocols:Air Temperature, Barometric Pressure, Relative Humidity, Clouds, Water Temperature, pH
Presentation Poster: View Document
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Litter is found in all the world's oceans and seas, even in remote areas far from human contact and obvious sources of the problem. The continuous growth in the amount of solid waste discarded irresponsibly, and the very slow rate of degradation of most items, are together leading to a gradual increase in marine litter found at sea, on the sea floor and coastal shores. Marine litter is known to have a negative effect to organisms and ecosystems. All sea turtle species, half of marine mammals and 21% of sea bird species are victims of entanglement or ingestion of marine debris. But are there other consequences as a result of all this litter ending up in the oceans and seas? Does plastic affect sea water conditions? The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of marine litter, especially plastic, on sea water conditions. This study investigated the effects of plastic litter on sea water temperature and sea water pH levels. This was analysed by recording the sea water temperature and sea water pH levels from two different samples: two large glass jars were filled with the same amount of sea water. In one of the jars the students put some plastic litter which they had collected during a clean-up activity from Ħondoq Bay. The glass jars were placed outside exposed to the sun and rain. The students also measured air temperature, humidity and barometric pressure and the GLOBE Observer App and Observation Cloud chart to measure the cloud cover following the steps of the GLOBE Protocols (GLOBE, 2014). The main objective was to find out the temperature and pH differences between these two samples. Results showed that the sea water containing plastic litter had a higher temperature and pH level. Results support the statement that plastic litter affects the temperature and pH of sea water.
Key words: marine litter, plastic, sea water temperature, sea water pH, coastal areas
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