Three high school students to join Antarctica mission

Three high school students to join Antarctica mission

Three high school students to join Antarctica mission

Three high school students, who produced bioplastics 20 times more enduring than plastic shopping bags that dissolve in nature in 45 days, will join Türkiye’s seventh Antarctica mission crew, Demirören News Agency has reported.

Azra Ayşe Bıçakçı, Hilal Başak Demirel and Zeynep İpek Yanmaz won the “Arctic Research Projects Competition,” a competition held in the Black Sea province of Giresun within the scope of Türkiye’s aviation space and technology festival TEKNOFEST, with their bioplastic project.

Upon Turkish Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank’s suggestion, the three high school students from the southern province of Antalya will be sent to Antarctica with the country’s leading scientists to “make examinations on-site.”

According to the news agency, the three girls will be accompanied by Burcu Özsoy, the Antarctica journey coordinator for the Scientific and Technological Research Institution of Türkiye (TÜBİTAK), which is the country’s national science and technology agency.

Türkiye sent six mission crews to Antarctica, with the last team departing at the end of January and returning to the country in March after a 46-day research work.

Bıçakçı, Demirel and Yanmaz will get into training before going to Antarctica with the seventh crew, which is supposed to depart in the last days of January 2023.

“Bioplastics do not damage the living beings as they do not contain any toxic materials,” Yanmaz said while depicting the trio’s project called “The Production of Indigenous Bioplastic Material to Prevent Microplastic Pollution in the Arctic Oceans.”

“While normal plastics dissolve in nature in about 450 years, ours dissolve in around 45 days,” she stated and added: “We have produced it by using acorn.”

Her companion Bıçakçı also pointed out the importance of acorn, saying, “For the production bioplastics, corn, wheat and rice is used. Acorn has been used for the first time.”

Speaking to the news agency, Hasan Mandal, the head of TÜBİTAK, said the three girls will be able to “get the opportunity to see how their material will dissolve in nature on-site.”

“They will also work and meet with Turkish and international scientists in Antarctica,” he added.