Friday, 18 May 2012

The Big tidy up!

On Wednesday the 16th of May, Dr Badge and I took part in the National Keep Britain Tidy campaign ‘The Big Tidy Up’ at the University of Leicester. Armed with a "Streetmaster" TM litter picker, gloves, recycling bags and hi vis jackets, we joined the Environment team and Contact volunteers to make Victoria Park (adjacent to the University) litter free!

From left to right, Dr Richard Badge and Christopher Morton.

Surprisingly there wasn't much litter about on this day with only 10 bags from the 10 volunteers  being collected from the whole of the park - it seems the City Council employees who look after the park are doing a great job! However we did still find a fair amount of polystyrene waste in the hedgerows and on the park. Its sobering to think that without our lunchtime litter picking, this polystyrene potentially could have outlived us, due to its chemically stable structure!

Although we didn't collect that much litter on the day , there is still a massive volume of polystyrene in our landfills and around the countryside of the United Kingdom. These locations, and even your back garden or allotment could potentially harbour the elusive polystyrene degrading microbe we are looking for for the iGEM project. This is why we need the public to help by undertaking our Citizen Science Experiment. The person to find the most active microbe using polystyrene as its sole carbon source will get the opportunity to have their name published on a research paper at the end of the project, as well as official University of Leicester iGEM team "Citizen Scientist" t-shirts.

To get involved in the experiment, you can buy a sampling kit here on the blog for a contribution of £2.00 + 50pence postage through the PayPay button to your left. Or you can email the team at for alternate methods to get your hands on a kit. Check out the Citizen Science Experiment tab for more information or you can always drop us an email with any questions.

Good luck!
Christopher Morton - Project leader.