Microplastic pollution is a growing problem threatening all types of sea life. Natasha and Yonatan, two Ocean Wise Youth to Sea participants in Vancouver, decided to take action by applying, and successfully being chosen as finalists, for The Trident Prize.

Running in parallel with Conservation X Lab’s Microfiber Innovation Challenge, the Trident Prize competition empowers participants to tell the story of microplastics in their communities in an engaging way to increase knowledge and awareness of the growing microplastic pollution problem. The top ten finalists are all given a Trident underwater drone to aid in their storytelling projects, further letting them compete for a $5,000 grand prize!

Working with Ocean Wise mentors, Natasha and Yonatan have created a plan for an educational documentary called “Inside the Tide: Unveiling the Curtain on How Microplastics Are Affecting the Deep Waters of the Pacific Northwest.” The team will use their Trident underwater drone to explore how microplastics affect various marine species in Indian Arm, a fjord, located outside of Vancouver in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest.

To create their documentary, Natasha and Yonatan plan to interview researchers at Ocean Wise, speak to authorities from Port of Vancouver, and connect with the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. Researchers at the Ocean Wise Plastic Lab are already delivering cutting-edge technical insights into microplastics in Canada’s aquatic environments. Ocean Wise studies occurrences of microplastics in laundry machine outflow, seawater, municipal wastewater, and the stomach and organs of aquatic animals. In 2017, Ocean Wise launched the Microfiber Partnership, bringing together researchers, representatives from the apparel industry, and government agencies concerned with the sources and impacts of microfiber pollution. Ocean Wise is also a partner on Conservation X Lab’s launch of the Microfiber Innovation Challenge.

Combining support from community partners, the expertise from Ocean Wise researchers, and the innovative storytelling from Natasha and Yonatan, this documentary will surely make a lasting impact on how their community and peers view tiny pieces of plastic pollution.

“We’re looking forward to exploring our storytelling skills and using education to engage the public on microplastic issues,” Natasha and Yonatan said.

Youth To Sea is an Ocean Wise initiative for youth aged 15-18, providing them with opportunities to develop their problem-solving, critical-thinking, and communication skills. Youth engage with their local community through learning journeys and ocean service projects. At the end of the program, youth are equipped with skills, tools, and strategies to be active decision-makers in their local, regional, and national communities. It’s a program supported by the Government of Canada’s Canada Service Corps and helps positively impact, through direct action and service learning, that our oceans remain healthy and flourishing for generations to come.


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