It’s pretty impossible to avoid hearing about the problem of plastic at the moment. It’s getting plenty of media attention and new thinkpieces are popping up everyday.
But for those who aren’t interested in the impact plastic is having on our planet, it’s easy to ignore the headlines. To combat this, environmental charity Hubbub have tried to grab the attention of those who are indifferent.
Their latest campaign aims brings the issue to light in an interesting and unusual way.
What’s the Problem With Plastic?
Plastic as a material is incredibly ingrained in our society. Just think about how much plastic you’ve bought or used in the past week, month, and if you dare, year. Grabbing a plastic covered bunch of bananas and drinking from a single-use bottle of water has become the norm.
Plastic may be cheap and durable, but it’s ruining the world we live in beyond repair. Only a tiny fraction – around 9% – of plastic is recycled. The rest is burned or dumped in landfills.
Most plastics aren’t biodegradable and can take more than 400 years to degrade. Given that we haven’t had plastic around for 400 years, we don’t even know if it will ever fully degrade.
This is awful in itself. But things get even worse as plastic often escapes from landfills and drops off trucks and boats during transport. This plastic, alongside the masses of plastic litter carelessly discarded, can eventually end up in the sea.
By 2050 it’s predicted that there will be more plastic in the sea than fish.
The government are trying to make changes to reduce the usage of plastic. For example, there are proposed bans on plastic straws and cotton buds. Lots of businesses are also joining the mission to cut down on plastic. Many companies including the coffee chain, Pret, are planning to drop all single-use plastics by 2025.
The fight to save our planet is a huge, overwhelming one. We all have to take measures to reduce our plastic usage if we’re going to make any big changes. So it’s vital to find ways to inform people of the problem in inspirational and exciting ways. And that’s where Hubbub’s plastic boat comes in.
Move Over Noah’s Ark
Hubbub are a charity creating “environmental campaigns with a difference”. They aim to inspire people to lead a more sustainable life in creative ways.
So how are Hubbub bringing attention to the plastic problem? By creating Poly-Mer, the world’s first recycled plastic boat!
Poly-Mer was built by Mark Edwards MBE, who also built the Queen’s barge Gloriana. Poly-Mer is a traditionally designed 12-seater boat made from recycled plastic waste. This includes 8,000 bottles collected from the Ride cycling event in London.
Hubbub organise Plastic Fishing trips on the Poly-Mer around London’s Docklands. These trips allow guests to fish plastic litter out of the River Thames. This plastic will then be used to make more boats.
300 tonnes of rubbish is cleared from the Thames every year. Much of what’s left is eaten by water dwelling creatures. In fact, 70% of Thames fish have plastic in their guts.
The Poly-Mer campaign was developed in partnership with Canary Wharf College, a local school wanting to tackle the issue. The fishing trips are perfect for school children, as the key to making long term changes is to educate people on the issues from a young age. To encourage this, the City Bridge Trust are funding 55 free fishing trips to children from over 25 London schools.
As well as providing wonderful views of Canary Wharf and being an enjoyable team-building activity, these boat trips are an amazing way to educate a wider audience on the issue of plastics in our environment.
Great or Gimmicky?
Some may argue that this is such a serious topic that we shouldn’t HAVE to come up with fun and exciting ways to get people engaged. But what’s wrong with spreading a message far and wide and having a laugh at the same time?
This activity is doing good. Even if people decide to go on the boat with little interest in the environment they will at least leave with an understanding of the issues at stake.
Let’s Go Plastic Fishing!
This Hubbub campaign is a creative way of spreading the green and sustainable lifestyle message.
An interactive and enjoyable learning session is much more likely to be memorable than a long lecture on why things need to change.
Perhaps the campaign should become a more widespread activity in other rivers across the country, or even the world. I know that if I’d been taken on a plastic fishing school trip I’d have started my plastic reduction journey at a far younger age.
We hope to see the campaign continue for the long term. It’s educational but also reducing plastic in the Thames. Surely, a winning combination!