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Belfast Telegraph Love to Learn: All about water, Week 6

This article has been specially written for thousands of pupils from across Northern Ireland who are doing the Belfast Telegraph cross-curricular project themed on WATER. This is the final week of the six-week project in which we have focused on oceans around the world, rivers across Northern Ireland and the threats to water.

Southern Ocean

The Southern Ocean is the fourth biggest ocean in the world.

It is larger than the Arctic Ocean but smaller than the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

Covering 6% of the earth's surface it is also known as the Antarctic Ocean or the Austral Ocean and surrounding the continent of Antarctica it comprises the most southern ocean water in the world.

At any time you will encounter icebergs in the Southern Ocean making it tricky to navigate. Crossing this stretch of water becomes even more dangerous between May and October when there are strong winds.

Antarctica may be home to 90% of the planet's ice and is the coldest continent in the world, but that doesn't bother the largest penguin species, the Emperor Penguin, which lives on the ice of the Southern Ocean.

Wandering albatrosses, blue whales and fur seals also see the Southern Ocean as home.

The Giant Squid lives there too. It can actually grow up to 15 metres!

Recently a study showed that the impact of climate change is putting the future of tiny plants called phytoplankton in the Southern Ocean at risk.

Researchers say phytoplankton are important as all marine life in the Southern Ocean rely on them as a source of food.

There are several research stations in Antarctica but most of the scientists and explorers who use them only live there for a short time.

My Favourite Water Pastime

Name: Paris McCrory

Age: 10

School: Denamona Primary School, Fintona, Co Tyrone

My favourite water pastime is swimming because it is fun and a healthy thing to do. It is also a good sport and is a very important skill if you want to be a coastguard and if someone is drowning you will know what to do.

There are lots of countries in the world where they can't swim because they are too poor to afford it or they don't have a pool in their area. In some of these countries you have to swim in waters infested with crocodiles that could tear your limbs apart. It's so dangerous.

I went to the swimming pool with my mummy and my younger brother and I went under the water. I was scared then but I'm okay now.

I love jumping into the water and some day I hope I will be able to dive in like Tom Daley from the highest diving boards.

My favourite water pastime is definitely swimming. It is a great sport as everyone in the family can join in from the youngest baby to the oldest granny or grandad.

River Maine

The River Maine is highly regarded by anglers for its salmon and trout.

It rises in the Glens of Antrim flowing through Ballymena, Cullybackey and Randalstown before entering Lough Neagh.

There is a poem called 'The River Maine at Cullybackey'. Its tributaries include Clough, Braid and Kellswater.

The Maine Rivers Trust was set up to work closely with other bodies to stop pollution and the decline of fish stocks.

Litter in the sea

Our oceans may be vast and deep but that does not mean dumping litter in the sea won't have consequences.

Litter in the sea has become a huge problem for marine life.

It is estimated that one million birds and 100,000 marine mammals and sea turtles die every year because they eat plastic or become trapped in plastic in the sea. It is also a growing threat to whales and dolphins around the world.

The Wildlife Trusts have said that around 177 species of reptiles, mammals and fish are at risk if they swallow litter at sea with plastic bags, balloons and drink cans a particular problem.

SOME WAYS TO HELP PREVENT WATER POLLUTION

Put rubbish in a bin. Don't throw it away on a beach or into or anywhere near our water

Do not throw chemicals, oils or paints down the drain or the toilet

If using chemicals or pesticides for your garden or farm, don't overuse them as this reduces the possibilities of chemicals entering nearby water sources

Tell your family and friends about the dangers of water pollution and encourage them to help prevent it

Use water wisely. Save it. For example when brushing your teeth do not keep the tap running when not in use

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