Commotion in the Ocean

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The Social Issue:

Understanding that the oceans play an essential role in our life on earth, this YSI team decided to tackle the issue of the impact of pollution on marine life. After learning that the oceans provide us with over 50% of the oxygen we breathe, and contribute to over 97% of the world's water supply, it has become clear to the students from Abbey Vocational School that the issue of ocean pollution affects mankind as much as marine life.  

We hope to bring about awareness on how people can reduce their carbon footprint and in particular reduce the amount of pollution that is entering into our seas and oceans damaging marine life. Inspired by David Attenborough, “The ocean’s power of regeneration is remarkable – if we just offer it the chance”. We have this choice and together we can make this change.

YSI Team 'Commotion in the Ocean'

The Idea:

The big idea for the Commotion in the Ocean team was to bring awareness on how people can reduce their carbon footprint, which impacts the amount of pollution entering the seas, and oceans and damaging marine life. The team came up with the idea of designing turtle bins to be displayed in the local area of Donegal Pier. In addition, the team took the issue of pollution into their own hands and organised regular beach clean-ups on Rossnowlagh Beach. To educate younger generations and engage them in helping combat the problem, students created resource packs which were shared with local primary schools in preparation for World Oceans Day 2022

Working in conjunction with Donegal County Council, the students from Abbey Vocational school created a turtle bin that was installed at Donegal Pier. The bin is a response to the growing problem of marine pollution in the school's local area, caused by the lack of bins at the pier, which increases the chances of litter getting into the local waters and impacts marine life. 

In order to raise awareness in their school community, the team organised a successful fundraiser for the whole school, and ran a Commotion in the Ocean Quiz which included four rounds of questions based on ocean facts, water sport, marine creatures and a music round all based around water-related issues. Through this activitity, the team fundraised over €300, which was donated to Seal Rescue Ireland (SRI), gifting the animals a second chance at life as well as allowing SRI to take lead in the fight against climate change, ocean pollution, habitat degradation and unsustainable fishing. 

The Impact:

The Commotion in the Ocean Team's thoughtful and strategic action has made a positive difference to marine life in the Dongeal area. The beach clean-up organised by the team resulted in reducing the chance of multiple full bags of litter entering the waters at Rossnowlagh beach. In addtion, the bin created and installed by the team at the Donegal Pier, provides a long-term solution to the problem of litter-caused marine pollution in the Donegal area, by reducing the amount of litter entering the sea.

The bin, despite its practical function, is also a statement piece, and has been constructed to raise awareness on rubbish distribution and pollution. This wooden art piece, shaped like a turle, included a clear plastic "shell" to hold the rubbish. The "shell" is made with a clear material in order to represent what marine life can igest as a result of the dumping of plastic and rubbish in the ocea.

A long-term, positive difference made by the team also included the primary school resources created for the World Oceans Day, and distributed in primary schools in County Donegal.


Young people are the future and by educating them on the vital issue of marine pollution, we are thriving for a better future.

Commotion in the Ocean Team Member.