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Environmental charity launches new free resource kit to support learning on plastic pollution…and solutions

A new free resource kit for primary schools aims to help children learn about plastic pollution in our waterways and explore the concept of the circular economy. 

Aimed at KS2 children aged 9-11, the tried and tested kit has been created by environmental charity Hubbub in association with Canary Wharf College and was inspired by the success of Hubbub’s Plastic Fishing campaign.

It includes a teaching guide with lesson plans, a video and activity sheets to help raise awareness and educate children on the issue of plastic litter in our canals, rivers and oceans.  

The free-to-download Plastic Fishing education kit is designed to support curriculum learning in Science, PSHE, Citizenship and Design & Technology, with cross-curricular extension opportunities in English, Mathematics, Geography and Modern Foreign Languages.

The pack is full of ideas to engage children with this important topic, with activities including making a marine ‘food web’, simple experiments with plastic waste and developing an action plan to reduce waste and improve recycling at school. The materials have proven long-term interaction and have sparked an interest amongst children about other environmental issues. 

Hubbub has developed the kit as part of its Plastic Fishing campaign, which launched in 2017 with the world’s first boat made from 99% recycled plastic setting sail in London’s Docklands. The boat takes schoolchildren and other groups on educational trips to ‘fish’ for plastic and get up close to the problem of plastic pollution. Children from 15 London primary schools have so far been Plastic Fishing and, together with business groups, they have removed 176 kg of plastic from the Thames.   

A second boat is now in operation on the Thames and the third boat in the fleet will launch next month in the Manchester Ship Canal as part of a partnership with the Daily Mirror to raise further awareness of plastic pollution in UK waterways. From April to June the new boat will go on a tour of the UK’s waterways, from Bristol to Scotland, collecting more plastic.  The boat has been built from plastic collected on previous plastic fishing trips, with plans to build a litter-busting fleet across the UK – a fantastic example of the circular economy in action.   

Gavin Ellis, Co-founder and Director of Hubbub, said: “I’ve seen first-hand the effect on children of seeing plastic pollution for themselves. They become passionate about helping to solve the problem and we wanted to replicate this passion in the classroom. Even if they don’t live near a river or canal there is a lot that children can do to help reduce the impact of plastic on the environment and we hope that the resources we’ve created will help teachers to bring the issue to life. Most of all, we want lessons in this area to be fun as that’s how children will be inspired to make a difference.” 

David Payne, a Principal from Canary Wharf College, said: “The ambition to tackle plastic pollution in our waterways has become a core part of our ethos as a school and our teachers are regularly amazed at the determination of our children to be a part of the solution. We welcome the development of this kit because it means that every child, wherever they live, will have the chance to learn about the issue of plastic pollution and be inspired to do their bit to help solve the problem. We are grateful to our parent Christine Armstrong who had the original vision to create the first plastic fishing boat.” 

The Plastic Fishing boats are built using funds collected from Starbucks’ 5p charge on drinks purchased in a paper cup across its 950 stores nationwide.  

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