Ducks Overboard!: A True Story of Plastic in Our Oceans
32pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99
January, 1992, and far out in the Pacific Ocean in the middle of a ferocious storm, a shipping container slips silently off the deck of a cargo ship and gradually sinks to the bottom of the sea. Unlike many of these containers which sink and remain forever on the seabed, this one has been damaged by the storm and it it goes to its watery grave, it releases its cargo – thousands and thousands of plastic ducks, frogs, turtles and beavers – and they are left to travel the world’s seas, taken by wind and current.
Based on true events, this innovative story tracks the journey of one of those 28 000 little ducks as it travels on ocean currents to meet sea life and discovers the rubbish from humans that endangers our oceans., highlighting the growing problem of plastic pollution. Trapped in the vast wasteland that is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the little duck thinks it is doomed but another storm frees it and it eventually washes up on a beach where someone is actually doing something to address the problem…
With 40% of plastic that is produced designed for single use only, and an estimated 8 000 000 tonnes of it finding its way into the oceans each year, some scientists are estimating that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean. While recent, and upcoming bans on the sale of single-use plastic items will hopefully contribute to diminishing these statistics, stories like these that bring the problem into the lives of our students so they are aware of it from an early age are essential. As well as explaining how the oceans’ currents enable these “plastic islands” to form, there are suggestions to enable individuals to make a difference such as recycling or organising a beach cleanup, but it might also spark discussions about what could be done at the class or school level, such as a toy swap or a Nude Food Week, especially if before-after comparisons are done as part of a maths challenge.