South Shields seafront visitors are encouraged to ‘Feed the Fish’ as part of a new initiative to keep the environment clean and tidy
Sandhaven’s newest landmark has been installed this week to encourage beach users to ‘feed’ it single use plastic bottles so they can be removed for recycling.
The giant metal sculpture is part of a ‘Feed the Fish’ initiative from South Tyneside Council to reduce the amount of plastic waste being left on the beach, especially as we head into the summer months.
Councillor Joan Atkinson, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for Culture, Leisure and the Visitor Economy, said: “We’re excited to be introducing the Feed the Fish initiative to beach visitors at Sandhaven.
“It will not only support us to keep our beaches clean and tidy and encourage people to recycle their single use plastic bottles but will help to raise awareness of the risk this material poses to the environment.
“The danger of plastic pollution to marine life and birds is well documented. According to UNESCO, plastic debris is responsible for the deaths of more than 100,000 mammals and over one million seabirds each year.
“We hope that this new sculpture will inspire and engage beach visitors to support our efforts to keep plastic off the beach and prevent it being washed into the ocean. Every piece of plastic that is fed to the fish will make a difference to our planet through preventing pollution and supporting recycling.
“It is particularly fitting that the fish has been installed as we celebrate 2023 being the Year of the Coast.”
South Tyneside Council will work with local schools and groups in the coming months to help develop the sculpture further, including coming up with a name for the include to foster a sense of ownership and identity.
The initiative supports the Borough’s ‘Protect our Ocean’ campaign which highlights the importance of wider coastal education around issues such as single-use plastics.
It also supports the ‘Motion for the Ocean’ which, in January 2022, saw South Tyneside Council declare an urgent need for ocean recovery and make a commitment to take positive action to help protect the coastline.
Councillor Ernest Gibson, Lead Member for Transport and Neighbourhoods at South Tyneside Council,added: “I’m really pleased to see this Feed the Fish being introduced in South Tyneside.
“It links well with all the work we are doing in the fight against climate chance and in raising awareness of the importance of our oceans and the need to protect it, not just for coastal communities like South Tyneside, but everywhere.
“Our work is wide ranging, from educating residents, schoolchildren and businesses on how they can help reduce their impact on the ocean to strengthening partnerships, embedding ocean recovery in all of the Council’s strategic decisions and pushing for policy change at national level.”
The sculpture follows the Council introducing 25 additional recycling bins along the seafront last summer to encourage members of the public to recycle their empty cans, glass, and plastic bottles.