Plastic Fishing

(This page is part of the Earth Arcade story – scroll down to find information on this activity, or go here for a run down of the Earth Arcade)

You came to the science festival with your family and your teenagers are happy playing on the Virtual Reality games. Your toddler however is getting tired and overwhelmed by the noise and busyness of the hall. You need to find something to occupy them.

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In a quieter corner there are some children playing with small fishing rods. This looks perfect for your toddler and you pass them a fishing rod. One of the Earth Arcade scientists offers to time them catching a fish from each of the three ‘oceans’, explaining they show the world’s waters getting more polluted over time.

You are astonished to find out the last ocean represents the seas in 2050 where there could be more plastic than fish if we keep disposing of it like we do. Your toddler might have a young family of their own then! They catch a fish in the first, clean, ocean quickly, but it soon gets harder and they takes them a while in the 2050 ocean. They still manage to get on the leader board. You’re proud of them.

Where does this plastic come from?

I want to see something I can try at home.

I want to leave.

I don’t have time for this, show me a list.

The Plastic Fishing activity was the brain wave of Flo Halstead one day and we made it a reality. It is the simplest of our activities but one of the most popular. Each of the small paddling pools is filled with coloured crepe paper and some magnetic fish – as the user progresses from one pool to the next, the paper gets darker and the fish get fewer – the ocean is getting polluted and filled with plastic.

We let people play casually but some people just want to be competitive, so we time them as they catch one fish from each pool – the fastest get to go on the leaderboard, the perfect chance for them to take a selfie.