From macro to micro – when small bits make things worse…

Students’ creativity shines in the fight against marine litter for Nature Trust – FEE Malta’s poster competition
A poster by Francesca Allen.

Nature Trust − FEE Malta, in collaboration with Ocean Conservancy’s Small Grants Programme, has successfully concluded a project raising awareness about the perils of marine litter, single-use items and microplastics. 

The project consisted of numerous beach clean-ups and various educational sessions which included the use of digital microscopes to analyse how plastics break down and are ingested by animals and even absorbed by plants at times.

As a conclusion, a call was issued to students to create mini posters – a way to spread the word about the dangers of the litter ending up in the sea.

The poster competition showcased the creative talents of the young eco-warriors as they tackled this pressing environmental issue through striking visual representations.

Here’s a close look at the best entries:

Category A: Distinguishing between synthetic and natural materials

Although no winning entry was selected in this category, several commendable posters stood out for their ability to differentiate between manmade waste and natural materials, such as seaweed, feathers, roots and twigs.

Students like Mattia Zahra, Isaac Grech, Eman Thewma, Luigi Ciappara Papagiorcopulo and Francesca Allen demonstrated their understanding of this crucial distinction, reminding us that not all materials found in nature should be labelled as litter. Also, synthetic materials unfortunately have many long-lasting negative effects on the environment.

Category B: Misleading advertisements and labelling

Highlighting the need for critical thinking when it comes to green advertising, Alexander Costingan and Luca Abdilla Parnis from St Clare College San Ġwann Primary School produced commendable entries.

Their posters shed light on the deceptive nature of certain terms like “compostable” and “biodegradable”, emphasising that even seemingly eco-friendly products still pose risks to wildlife if not managed properly – most such items need to be disposed of in a very particular way which is not always available.

This can be seen as an eye opener on the green washing of certain products to increase sales.

One of the commendable entries by Alexander Costingan.

Category C: Biodegradable balloons and their environmental impacts

Florian Mizzi Vella from St Ignatius College, Qormi San Ġorġ Primary School placed first in this category. Florian’s poster brought attention to the harmful effects of “biodegradable” balloons, the material used and the consequences of balloon releases on the environment.

The thought-provoking design serves as a reminder that man’s actions, even unintentional ones, can have far-reaching consequences. The time it takes for a “biodegradable” balloon to degrade is enough to have a bird entangled in its string, or an inflated one mistakenly swallowed by a turtle.

The winning poster in this category by Florian Mizzi Vella.

Category D: Top 10 litter items and solutions

Logan Buttigieg and Ryan Vella from St Francis School, Victoria won this category. Their poster tackled the 10 most commonly found litter items on local beaches, including cigarette butts, single-use cutlery, straws, cups and bottle caps.

The winning entry, along with commendable works by Jake Mallia, Elisa Vella, Adele Formosa, Michael Grech, and Edoardo Baraggioli, emphasised the importance of responsible waste management and provided actionable steps to control these pollutants.

The Nature Trust − FEE Malta mini poster competition has successfully engaged young minds in the urgent mission of combating marine litter, reducing dependence on single-use items and raise awareness about microplastics. The entries not only showcased the students’ artistic talent and creativity but also their deep understanding of the environmental challenges we face.

This category’s winning poster by Logan Buttigieg and Ryan Vella.

Note: Nature Trust − FEE Malta’s project ‘From macro to microplastics: What happens to litter and debris?’ is funded in part by Ocean Conservancy’s Small Grants Programme.

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