From 9-12 November 2017 Odyssea participated in the Science Festival in Luxembourg, organised by the National Museum of Natural History and Fonds National de la Recherche. With over 50 workshops and over 10 000 visitors in previous years, the Science Festival is the most visited science outreach event in Luxembourg.
Odyssea’s workshop focused on plastic pollution in the oceans. Every year 8 tons of plastic1 enter our oceans and plastic is now omnipresent on our shores, whether in the polar regions or remote islands. In a first experiment we showed that there are many different types of plastics with different buoyancies: some float on the water surface, some sink to the ocean floor. No matter where animals feed in the water column, they might encounter plastic and mistake it for something edible. We highlighted the example of sea birds and marine turtles, which are known to die from plastic pollution. 95% of Northern fulmars are estimated to have plastics in their stomachs! Over one million seabirds are estimated to die per year due to the ingestion of plastic. One stranded whale was found with 30 plastic bags in its stomach.