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Cleaning Up Our Water

Did you know that about 10% of the plastics made every year end up in bodies of water like the ocean? Other things like garbage, waste, and organic material also end up in our water which causes water pollution. See firsthand how these different items affect the quality of the water on our Earth by conducting an experiment of your own.

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  • Do you know what a pollutant is?
  • What materials will you need for this activity?
  • How much time do you need to complete this activity?
  • How will you record your observations?


  • Go for a walk around your neighborhood or house and collect trash you see (wrappers, masks, organic waste like leaves and sticks, plastic, etc.)
  • When you have returned, fill up two jars with water
  • Leave one jar with just water, and in the other slowly add one piece of trash at a time
  • Record your observations
  • Discuss what you notice about the two jars


  • What were the similarities and differences between the jars?
  • How do pollutants affect the water on Earth?
  • What are some different kinds of pollutants?
  • How can you help to decrease the amount of pollution in the water on Earth?
  • What do you know now that you didn’t know before?
  • Remember to submit your activities on our Scouts for Sustainability Take Action Map


  • 2 jars or see through containers
  • Trash/garbage
  • Garbage bag to collect your trash
  • PPE – gloves, mask, shovel, or grabber
  • Pen and paper or notebook for observations

Keep it Simple

Take it Further

  • Examine how an oil spill is considered a pollutant and explore different ways we can clean it up.