Portsmouth Grammar School pupils create giant fish to wage war on plastic pollution

Year 12 students Jack Taylor (16) and Alice Acklam (17). Picture: Sarah Standing (040719-183)
Year 12 students Jack Taylor (16) and Alice Acklam (17). Picture: Sarah Standing (040719-183)
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PUPILS at Portsmouth Grammar School are leading the war against plastic pollution with the construction of a giant fish.

The three metre long fish has been created to collect single-use plastics for recycling and to raise the profile of plastic pollution in the oceans.

Sam Robinson, head of Enrichment. Picture: Sarah Standing (040719-191)

Sam Robinson, head of Enrichment. Picture: Sarah Standing (040719-191)

Alice Acklam, 17, was one of 10 Year 12 students behind the initiative.

‘We wanted to raise awareness of plastic pollution and the fish provides both a practical use as well as a visual way of promoting the issue,’ said Alice. ’In three days we have collected more than 1,000 containers. It’s good to see a lot of the younger children involved. Hopefully the message we are providing will become part of their lifestyle for years to come.’

Pupils were inspired to create the fish after learning about the issue of ocean plastics during lessons on sustainability and after taking part in a local beach clean.

Year 12 pupil, John Taylor, 16, said: ‘We carried out a beach clean at Southsea and I was really surprised by how much rubbish we collected. Living on the coast, any rubbish we drop or leave behind will invariably end up in the sea.’

The pupils were keen to use the fish to promote the issue at other schools across the city.

Alice said: ‘We want to send the fish to other schools to hopefully inspire other young people in Portsmouth. We are also posting photographs and information on social media to help spread the word.’

The giant fish seemed to have caught the attention of pupils with children of all ages having attached pledge tags about how they intend to reduce their own environmental impact.

Examples included to ‘pick up any plastic I see on the street’, ‘not to use products containing microbeads’ and to ‘car share with my friends’.

Head of enrichment, Sam Robinson, who co-ordinated the project, said: ‘By addressing these issues hopefully we can influence how children look at the world and take responsibility for being ambassadors for their generation and the next.’

Alice added: ‘It’s not our generation who have caused this problem but we are the ones who will have to deal with the aftermath.’