Magh Éne students researched the level of public awareness about microbeads in personal care products.
Four projects from Magh Éne College, Bundoran, were accepted to exhibit at this year BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition which opens today in the RDS.
All nine students taking part are Transition Year students, under the direction of their teacher Ms. Yvonne Higgins.
Teacher Yvonne Higgins with the students from Magh Éne who are taking part in the BT Young Scientists Exhibition in the RDS
Caolan Clancy, Jamie Lee Clancy and Rachel Currid carried out "A Case Study into Public Awareness of Microbeads in Personal Care Products", which is competing in the Social and Behavioural Sciences category.
In total they surveyed 229 people across the towns of Bundoran, Manorhamiliton and Sligo on their knowledge of microbeads in personal care products. They found that 59% of the people surveyed said that they were unsure whether or not they use microbeads in their care products, 52% said that they don't know how bad microbeads are for the environment, while 20.5% stated that microbeads should not be added to personal care products by producers.
As an alternative to microbeads that would be safer for the environment, 31.9% would like to see coca in their personal care products, 23.3% would like bamboo and 18.8% would like sea kelp.
Another of the Magh Éne projects was carried out on the beaches in Bundoran. This project is "An Investigation into the Effects of Trampling on Ground-dwelling Insects in a Sand Dune Ecosystem in Co. Donegal" by Niamh Creevy, Katie Curran and Áine Dillon, in the Biological and Ecological category. They found that trampling had a negative effect on the ground-dwelling insects.
Another very interesting project from Magh Éne is "An Investigation into Developing a more Efficient Method of Drying Woodchip for use in boilers" by Conor Herity, in the Chemical, Physical and Mathematical Sciences category. He investigated the effect of varying the bed height, pressure and temperature on the moisture content of equal sized wood chip samples.
The last of the four projects from Bundoran is "A survey into Parental Attitudes in the North-West towards the HPV Vaccine" by Tara Dolan and Chloe Kilkenny, in the Social and Behavioural Sciences category.
They surveyed 181 parents across counties Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim and Galway. They found that 37.6% of the participants had a daughter who had received the vaccine, 63.8% of these participants reported a positive experience. They found that the number of participants who would not wish to have any other daughters vaccinated with the HPV vaccine is almost double the number who said they would. In addition, 30.4% of respondents indicated that they would need more information regarding the vaccine to make a decision while 65.7% of the participants claimed that the HSE does not provide enough information about the vaccine to parents.