Students tackle pollution crisis at World Science Fair


By Brent Gray

Today’s greatest scientific minds have yet to solve the pollution crisis in the Great Barrier Reef, but today at the World Science Fair primary school students were hard at work creating solutions to help the Reef.

Science Minister Leeanne Enoch talks with the students

Science Minister Leeanne Enoch talks with the students

Climate Change is the most significant environmental threat to the Great Barrier Reef, while the other major environmental pressures are listed as decreased water quality from land-based runoff, impacts from coastal development and some persistent impacts from fishing activities.

The reef continues to be threatened by storms, coral bleaching and ocean acidification.

Minister for Innovation, Science and Digital Economy, Leeanne Enoch, was keen to hear ideas from the budding engineers.

“Most people understand that in terms of science, technology, engineering and maths, these are the skills of the future and so these children all of our kids in Queensland and across our country need to have these particular skills so that that they are prepared for the future they are going to inherit.

“That’s why this is so important and at the same time being able to do that in a fun way through arts, performance, this is the way to actually capture kids’ imaginations.”

Minister Enoch with Durack State School Teachers

Minister Enoch with Durack State School Teachers

The students were given one hour along with mystery materials provided by the Queensland Museum to create a 3D proto-type of their invention to stop pollution in the Reef.

Queensland Museum Curator Chris Lowe was excited to run the event.

“It’s all about the solution not the problem,” she said.

The students made use of many recyclable elements such as cardboard and shredded newspaper.

Competing schools Durack State School and Ipswich Home Schooling had students ranging from Year 4 to 6 participating.

Students’ inventions ranged from giant vacuums, claw systems to robotic sharks.

Students' inventions on display.

Students’ inventions on display.

“This is a robo-shark, there’s a tank in the back and the net catches the rubbish and the shark eats it,” an Ipswich Home School student said.

Durack students were equally imaginative.

“This has two spades and then we scoop up the rubbish but if it misses these two suctions at the bottom suck up the rubbish,” a student from Durack student explained.

The students understood the importance of being environmentally conscious for the future.

“We’re going to lose the Great Barrier Reef and the ocean if we don’t do something, and we won’t be able to swim in the ocean either – we’ll just have mucky water,” Durack student Lisa explained.