Fishing for plastic in Bristol's floating harbour

We joined a fishing trip with a difference on Bristol’s historic floating harbour – to ‘catch’ plastic waste in the water, aboard the Poly Roger, a boat made almost entirely from plastic fished out of Britain’s rivers and waterways.​

It was one of a number of trips being made by the boat on waterways across the UK, taking people out on litter fishing trips to raise awareness of the growing levels of plastic pollution in our rivers and canals and to encourage more people to recycle plastic.


There are plans to build a litter-busting fleet across the UK – a fantastic example of the circular economy in action.


Elinor Kershaw, Bristol Zoological Society’s sustainability co-ordinator, who joined the team for the day, collecting plastic said: “I was delighted to join the crew and play a part in this commendable effort to remove plastic waste from Bristol harbour today. Bristol Zoological Society’s mission focuses on saving wildlife together and that includes the habitats in which they live.


“As well as working to protect exotic and threatened species and habitats around the world, we also work with native species in the UK. Efforts such as this plastic fishing are vital to protect vital habitats on our doorstep and it is great that so many people from across the city have been involved in this very commendable effort.”


The trip was arranged by Bristol Waste in partnership with environmental campaign charity, Hubbub, with participants from across the city working together to help tackle litter in our waterways. The boat made a series of litter-fishing trips in Bristol last week.


The Plastic Fishing Tour has seen the punt used for a week in Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester and across central Scotland. One city will then b3e chosen by Hubub, as part of a competition with the Daily Mirror, to keep the boat and continue plastic fishing on a more permanent basis.


The punt is only the third of its kind in the world and the first to launch outside London. The craftsman tasked with building the punt was expert punt-builder Mark Edwards MBE, who also built the Queen’s barge ‘Gloriana’. The design is based on a traditional punt, but it’s made from the most modern of materials - Plaswood, a hardwearing alternative to wood that is made entirely from recycled single-use plastic - and it’s powered by a rechargeable electric motor making it the most sustainable of punts.

[Image courtesy of the Bristol Post.]


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