Activities for Protecting the Sea
- Students make a video or set up a photographic display about
a class visit to a polluted waterway in an industrial or urban
environment and a visit to a similar waterway in an undisturbed
(or less disturbed) area. What features of the two environments
quickly indicate that one is polluted and the other healthy? How
can the video or photographic display influence other people's
perceptions of that place and its environment.
- Oil Detective. Look on the parking lot of your school. Can
you find patches of oil (dark spots) on the ground? Where did
they come from? Where does this oil go when it rains?
- Have the students to look on the ground where their family
car is parked at home. Is there oil on the ground? Where is it
coming from? Where does it go? What percentage of the student's
family cars leak oil? Discuss why some cars leak oil and others
- How much does a litre of oil cost? How long does it last in
a car before it has to be changed? How is oil recycled in New
Zealand (hint, Ace Oil Recovery in Auckland, Dominion Oil, Milburn
Cement)? If your parents change the oil at home, do they take
the used oil to a recycling point? If not, what happens to it?
(If oil is not recycled, what is the best thing to do with it?
Remember that 10% of oil entering the oceans comes from greasy
smoke from oil that was burned at low temperatures. Oil put on
the ground or down a drain will wind up in the ocean).
- With the teacher's help, look at new, unused oil and old motor
oil. Place a drop of each on a piece of paper and compare the
way the paper looks. Can you explain the differences? What gets
into the oil from the engine of a car that makes it necessary
to change the oil?
- Place a drop of oil in a container of water. What happens
to it? Why does oil float on top of the water?
- Find out who is in charge of cleaning up oil spills in your
area and the telephone number to call in case you see a major
oil spill or spill of any other hazardous substance. How do people
clean up a spill of oil on the sea?
- Look for magazine articles or news articles about large oil
spills, like the tanker that grounded in England in March, 1996.
Why are people so concerned about the oil from wrecked oil tankers?
- Discuss how oil on the water hurts sea birds, dolphins, seals,
eggs of fish and other sea life floating on the surface of the water.
How do people clean the oil off sea birds? Do many of the birds
- Contact Bruce Chapman or Carla Thorn at the Ministry for the
Environment in Wellington for information on the New Zealand Oil
Recovery Programme. Help make this project a success, so all used
oil is recycled.
- Investigate where storm water goes in your community. Do drainage
ditches that go into rivers and the sea have plants in them? How
does the council keep the plants out of these drainage areas?
If they use toxic chemicals to kill the plants, where do these
chemicals go when it rains? Discuss what chemicals that kill plants
might do to plants in the sea.
- Chemicals are often used to kill insects and other pests on
farms, lawns, and gardens. Discuss where these chemicals go when
it rains. When it is very dry, the soil containing chemicals and
metals used in pesticides blows away as dust and settles on the
surface of the sea. Discuss what chemicals
designed to kill insects, worms and molluscs on farms might do
to the zooplankton (which are arthropods like insects), marine
worms and molluscs. How might this be related to toxic algal blooms?
Discuss how organic farming (which does not use pesticides or
weed killers) might help the oceans.