A 700kg metal cod appeared on Scarborough’s South Bay today in a bid to tackle the problem of plastic pollution in our seas.
‘Fin the Fish’ - installed by Yorkshire Water in partnership with Scarborough Borough Council and the University of Hull - is both a sculpture and a receptacle for plastic.
Geraldine Tebb, Yorkshire’s Water coastal delivery and engagement manager, explained the inspiration for Fin came from Bali where a similar sculpture of a tropical fish is situated.
She said: “We wanted to bring the first permanent sculpture of this kind to the UK.
“Our bathing water analysis shows when the beach is busiest is when we struggle to keep the water quality at a good level so we hope Fin shows people how to reduce the impact of being a tourist.”
The 5m long sculpture will be maintained and emptied by Scarborough Borough Council and will stay on South Bay until the end of November when it will move further in land to the Humber region before returning to the beach next Easter.
It will allow people on the beach to visualise just how much plastic is being used in the hope this prompts them to reconsider their own plastic use.
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Cllr Janet Jefferson said: “I think it’s a positive thing for Scarborough and we’re hoping to get funds to do one on North Bay.
“The main thing is to get plastic off the beach and protect our marine life. We hope that it will not only be thought provoking, but also encourage everyone visiting Scarborough to play their part in keeping plastic off the beach and out of the sea.”
Yorkshire Water has worked in partnership with The University of Hull on this project.
The university’s Energy and Environment Institute is researching solutions to some of the biggest environmental challenges facing the world today, from climate change and plastics to flooding and renewable energy.
Professor Dan Parsons, director of the institute, said: "The world has woken up to the critical issue of plastic pollution in our oceans, which is a growing challenge and is having devastating consequences for marine environments both globally and off our Yorkshire coastline.
“Our scientists at the University of Hull are tackling these issues through our research and teaching but we all have a duty to do what we can to protect our fragile marine ecosystems.
That’s why we’re delighted to support Yorkshire Water’s ‘Do your bit’ initiative.
“We hope that Fin the Fish will help visitors to Scarborough see this growing problem and prompt them to consider what they can do to reduce their own waste.”
Hollie Pilmer, 13, from Driffield, who watched the unveiling, thought the sculpture was a good idea.
She said: “In my opinion it looks really good and it saves it going to landfill which is important.
“If there was one thing I could change in the world it would be to improve the environment because we have a lovely coast here and people shouldn’t drop rubbish all over it.”
Fin was built in Egton Bridge, by Godbold Blacksmiths Ltd and installed by KRC Engineering Service.
James Godbold said: “It has been an enjoyable project - it’s been well received and it looks good.
“A lot of what has been on the TV in recent years around plastics has been quite frightening so it’s nice to do something that’s going to help.”
Fin the Fish is part of Yorkshire Water’s Do your Bit campaign which encourages beach goers to make small efforts to look after their environment such as recycling plastic, picking up any they see on the beach and making a pledge to reduce plastic use.