by Grisela Ruiz Marti, Sebastian Schaffer & Esther Wittstock
Last September 26, we were finally able to visit One Earth One Ocean's Circular Explorer. The Circular Explorer is a 100% solar-powered recycling catamaran that is designed to recover marine plastic waste in the Manila Bay, Philippines. It can recover up to four tons of floating plastic and transform it into new resources together with local recycling partners. As the vessel also features an education program and science lab onboard it provides an ideal platform to not only push the boundaries of marine science but also to serve as an education hub in sustainability of GESM students and teachers.
Planned GESM student activities on the Circular Explorer include:
1. Marine Plastic Pollution Awareness Campaign: Students can participate in a campaign to raise awareness about marine plastic pollution and its impact on the environment. They can create posters, videos, or other forms of media to spread the message. Involved subjects: Biology, Chemistry, English.
2. Marine Science Research: Students can participate in marine science research by collecting data on marine microplastics using the special sensors and microplastic collectors on board the Circular Explorer. The data collected can be discussed with marine scientists from the University of the Philippines Marine Institute, which is studying possible solutions on waste management and aquatic conservation. Involved subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, EES.
3. Recycling Workshop: Students can participate in a recycling workshop to learn about the importance of recycling and how it can help reduce waste and conserve natural resources. They can also learn about the different types of plastics and how they can be recycled. Involved subjects: Biology, Chemistry, EES, English.
4. Clean-up Drive: Students can participate in a clean-up drive to collect waste in the marine environment and support Manila Bay’s cleanup. The Circular Explorer has already collected 18,415 kilograms of waste including 7,965 kilograms of plastics covering an area close to 3.84 million square meters. Involved subjects: Biology, Chemistry, EES.
5. Use of clean energy: The Circular Explorer is powered entirely by solar energy. Students can participate in a workshop to explore the uses of solar energy and its conversion into usable energy to power the ship. Involved subjects: Physics.
6. Circular Economy Workshop: Students can participate in a workshop to learn about circular economy principles, which include reusing materials for as long as possible to prevent waste and conserve natural resources. They can also learn about how they can apply these principles in their daily lives. Involved subjects: Economics, Business, EES.