Did you know that 80% of marine litter globally starts life on land? Mizuiku Upstream Battle is a citizen science programme run by Keep New Zealand Beautiful. It aims to get volunteers across Aotearoa New Zealand collecting and auditing litter at key upstream sites such as rivers, lakes and streams to provide a better understanding of the root causes of ocean pollution.
Reach: New Zealand
Nature of science focus: As a citizen science programme, this project allows students to experience a range of aspects of the Nature of Science (NoS). Mizuiku Upstream Battle links students to real-life science, giving them the opportunity to participate in science processes and contribute to national and international environmental research.
Identify aspects of NoS that your students need to develop their understanding of and frame your unit to focus these aspects within the context of Mizuiku Upstream Battle.
Science capability focus: As a hands-on interactive and experiential learning opportunity, Mizuiku Upstream Battle aligns with the curriculum’s focus on the development of capabilities that are strengthened through practice – Participating and contributing, Investigating science, Understanding about science, Engage with science, Gather and interpret data, Use evidence, Critique evidence, Interpret representations. Identify which ones your students need to develop or understand more fully and then frame your pedagogy to be very clear about these things when you do them.
Science focus: Living World – ecology; Planet Earth and Beyond – interacting systems, marine ecosystems, pollution, environmental science, waste, sustainability
Some suggested science concepts:
- Litter and waste impact natural ecological systems.
- Ecosystems maintain interacting systems such as the water and carbon cycles. The impact of litter and different forms of waste becoming part of these cycles impacts the environment and the climate.
- Socio-ecological issues such as waste stem from manufactured products used mostly on land.
- Chemicals used in the manufacturing process and within materials that become waste impact ecosystems.
- The difference between natural and human-induced impacts of waste.
Mizuiku Upstream Battle has been readily adopted by schools nationwide that embrace environmental education and who seek to engage their students as citizen scientists.Keep New Zealand Beautiful CEO Heather Saunderson
Some examples of learning outcomes:
- ask questions, find evidence, explore simple models and carry out appropriate investigations to develop simple explanations
- explore and act on issues and questions that link their science learning to their daily living
- explain how living things are suited to their particular habitat and how they respond to environmental changes, both natural and human induced
- find out about the uses of common materials and relate these to their observed properties
- investigate the water cycle and its role in climate, landforms and life
- describe how natural features are changed and resources affected by natural events and human actions.
About Mizuiku Upstream Battle
Marine litter is not just ugly – it can also pollute ocean ecosystems and harm both wildlife and humans. It gets into the food chain, can injure coral reefs and bottom-dwelling species and entangle or drown ocean wildlife. It contributes to climate change, threatens human health and negatively impacts the livelihoods of communities around the world.
Much of the marine litter globally starts on land and is brought indirectly to the sea by waterways, rivers, sewage, stormwater or winds. However, there is very little data on the type of litter, where it comes from or what exactly is making its way to the ocean through our waterways. Ocean conservancy begins with a better understanding of the root causes of ocean pollution. That’s where you come in! Mizuiku Upstream Battle is a citizen science programme run here in Aotearoa by Keep New Zealand Beautiful.
Initially created by Keep Scotland Beautiful, the aim of the Mizuiku Upstream Battle is to raise awareness, create a local, national and global evidence-based dataset and address the root causes of ocean pollution by preventing litter from entering our waterways. Upstream Battle is proudly presented by Suntory’s international Mizuiku Education Programme for Nature and Water, which is specifically designed to educate the next generation on the importance of clean water conservation.
Both Keep New Zealand Beautiful and Suntory share a commitment to educating young Kiwis and providing hands-on opportunities that inspire and empower them to protect our precious environment. Through this partnership, Upstream Battle serves as a platform for young people to take action and make a difference in preserving the health and beauty of New Zealand’s waterways
Nature of science
As a citizen science programme, Mizuiku Upstream Battle aims to enable students to become “responsible citizens in a society in which science plays a significant role” (tki.org.nz) by linking students to real-life science, giving them the opportunity to investigate and contribute to national and international environmental research.
Human litter has worked its way into remote and inaccessible parts of the ocean where even humans haven’t managed to penetrate. The article Oceans of rubbish explores a large-scale survey of the Earth’s oceans.
The future of plastics: reusing the bad and encouraging the good dives further into this socio-ecological issue.
Planning pathways – thinking about plastic provides ideas and resources for teaching and learning about plastics.
This Connected article looks at a project called sea science.
Read the Connected article Down the drain to see how students in Petone, Lower Hutt, took action to prevent rubbish from entering their local marine environment.
We have curated information from the Building Science Concepts Book 60 Rubbish: How Do We Deal with It? for use in the early to middle primary years.
See Backyard Battle, also run by Keep New Zealand Beautiful, which involves citizen scientists collecting, sorting and weighing litter and collating data to gain a better understanding of litter’s pathway across Aotearoa.
Visit the Keep New Zealand Beautiful website.
This citizen science article has been written by Rebecca Hampton from Keep New Zealand Beautiful.