28 November 2019

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Science students at Birkenhead Sixth Form College are taking part in a project with the University of Liverpool Chemistry Department to survey microplastic pollution on the Wirral coastline.

Funded by the Royal Society of Chemistry, the project is the first time a study has been made of this type of pollution on Wirral beaches.

The project kicked off recently with samples collected from the beach near Fort Perch Rock in New Brighton, with students studying across the four science courses available at the College joined by Year 8 students from The Birkenhead Park School, Professor Helen Aspinall from the University of Liverpool and crew members from New Brighton Lifeboat Station.

The project serves as a brilliant chance for students take part in a piece of real scientific research involving scientifically rigorous sampling techniques. They will now get the opportunity to analyse their samples using state-of-the-art equipment including EDX, IR and Raman microscopy both in the College laboratories and at the University of Liverpool’s recently upgraded science department.

The investigation into microplastic pollution comes at a time when the College is laying down new foundations to avoid plastic and other unnecessary waste that damages the planet.

New sectioned recycling bins are now in place in the College refectory, 8SQ, and reusable water bottles will replace single use water bottles in 2020 with ten new water fountains installed across multiple areas in the campus. Reusable hot drinks mugs are replacing paper cups and there is a renewed focus on recycling paper, with appropriate, labelled bins next to all printers.