Year 8 pupil Maxwell Johnson’s colourful and carefully researched poster about plastics won first prize in a Royal Society of Chemistry regional competition.
Entrants in the under-13 competition run by the RSC’s Chilterns and Middlesex Division were challenged to prepare a poster under the heading of The Chemistry Around Us.
Maxwell’s multi-coloured entry spelled out his title using letters from the Periodic Table and then set out the advantages of plastics – a ‘wonder substance’ – while contrasting these with the problems this ‘material mess’ causes.
He received a certificate signed by RSC divisional committee member Vanessa Nottage, together with £25-worth of Amazon vouchers.
QE Chemistry teacher and Extra-curricular Enrichment Tutor Keith Bugler said: “Many congratulations to Maxwell on the research and care he put into his entry: I thought his poster was awesome!”
Among the positive attributes of plastics that Maxwell listed were its light weight, durability and versatility, Dr Bugler said. However, Maxwell pointed out the problems caused in the oceans when UV rays make plastics crumble into microplastics less than 5mm long. These endanger many sea animals, including birds and whales, and also enter the human food chain, causing health problems such as hormonal dysfunction and cancers.