#oceanhero: a whale of a time campaigning to combat a serious environmental problem
At the start of Zero Waste Week, Sian Glover, head of corporate social responsibility at Planet Mark-certified waste and recycling firm Bywaters, provides an update on the #oceanhero campaign that has been driving awareness about the growing problem of plastic in our oceans
The facts are damming; there are over five trillion pieces of plastic currently in our oceans and by 2050 all the plastic in the ocean could outweigh all the fish. The death of the cuvier’s beaked whale in Norway, the whale full of plastic was a message – a message that we just couldn’t ignore anymore. This magnificent creature didn’t die by accident, or by a natural disease, it died because we didn’t dispose of our waste ethically and responsibly. This is a hard fact to swallow.
At Bywaters, our passion is recycling responsibly and sustainably; if the material cannot be re-sued or recycled, we will ensure that the material is utilised at an energy from waste plant, generating electricity for the national grid. Our legacy comes from what we can do to improve the local community, our client’s needs and the environment locally and worldwide. The prevalence and the realisation of the sheer amount of plastic entering our ocean every single second is our driving force; if we can educate people on how to reduce their impact then we will, we will make every effort to do this.
It’s not too late but we need to act now
Bywaters first became involved in ocean clean up back in March 2017, when we commenced the Ocean Clean Up project along with some of our key clients. Since then we have hosted many ocean clean ups in London and the South East. The material is collected and returned to our very own Materials Recovery Facility based in East London. Then, in June 2017, we received an unusual request: an order for plastic to build a giant whale...When we learned that it was being built to tour the country to highlight plastic pollution and learning of the death of the whale in Norway, we had to make the concept come alive.
Closing the loop
We truly were closing the loop; plastic from our ocean clean ups being used to educate on plastic pollution in our ocean.
Sky’s initiative Sky Ocean Rescue #oceanhero saw the creation of a whale made entirely of plastic; the whale represents the amount of plastic that enters our oceans every single second, a shocking 250 kg! The whale emulates the whale discovered off the coast of Norway, it was literally a plastic whale! The Sky plastic whale commenced their tour next to Tower Bridge an iconic start, the event was opened by Sir Ranulph Fiennes, he undertook many expeditions and was the first person to visit both the North and South Poles by surface means and the first to completely cross Antarctica on foot. In May 2009, at the age of 65, he climbed to the summit of Mount Everest.
Throughout August, the whale toured around the UK to different cities to highlight plastic pollution in our oceans and to promote reduced plastic use by the simple uptake of a reusable drinking bottles and re-usable bags, a movement which is paramount to the future of our oceans.
The whale toured all the way up to Edinburgh and all the way down to Newquay and then back to Sky HQ where Plasticus, as it has been named, will stay for the following months. Hopefully, Platsicus will eventually come home to Bywaters where we can showcase it and assist in educating people about plastic pollution in our oceans.
We all have a part to play in plastic reduction. Everything you do matters, and no matter how small it will have an impact. Collectively, we can have a monumental effect on the pollution that is currently plighting the ocean. Bywaters will continue to tell the whales story, we will continue to better our practices with new technologies and by working with The Planet Mark.