Dissemination on the importance of pH for the oceans’ life and other environmental impacts

During the European Night of researchers, research centres, universities and scientific associations from all over Europe organize different activities for all the public. In the case of Gran Canaria, the event was organized by the The Canarian Science and Technology Park Foundation of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, giving as a result the Macaronight, an event that took place in the Plaza de Santa Ana in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

From the Group of Environmental Management, Technologies and Biogeochemistry we left the laboratory to present our work on the streets through two fun and educational activities.

In particular, we chose two themes: the environmental impact of recreational and/or tourist activities on sensitive natural areas, and the importance of pH in life and marine environment, demonstrating how this famous scale of acidity can be represented through simple experimentation and just with “home ingredients”.

Schoolchildren (and also adults!) checked the pH of different solutions of everyday items such as toothpaste, jet water, soft drinks or detergent using lombard cabbage extract as a colorimetric indicator. This experience was used to explain the environmental problem associated with marine acidification, on which a “research kit” was distributed to develop at home or in the classroom. This experiment involves tracking the dissolution of shells from marine organisms in white vinegar (which would simulate a highly acidified ocean).

pH scale obtained with lombard cabbage indicator.

Macaronight 2019
Schoolchildren discovering the pH of everyday ingredients.

On the other hand, and taking advantage of the ECOTOUR Project, fom the MAC 2014-2020 Territorial Cooperation Call that we have active, we emphasized the environmental values that La Marciega hosts. This natural place, located in La Aldea (Gran Canaria), represents a refuge for the birdlife of the island through which the protagonist of our story, with the help of many schoolchildren during the morning, walked “without leaving trace in the environment”.

Thus, through a panel that highlighted the precautions to take into account when going through a natural environment, a series of “environmental challenges” similar to those in the famous table games were passed. Walking without leaving the trail, respecting the flora and fauna and avoiding making a fuss are some of the recommendations that were remembered and encouraged among schoolchildren to generate as little environmental impact as possible in our spare time outdoors.

Macaronight 2019
Schoolchildren during the game.
Macaronight 2019
The fair tent, during the chemical demonstrations.
Macaronight 2019
Moment of the game on environmental impacts framed in La Marciega and the ECOTOUR Project.