An Ocean Trail art installation made up of 24 giant fish had their debut at the Telford Balloon Fiesta, and are now on display in the Town Park’s Chelsea Gardens.
The art project is a partnership between Telford & Wrekin Council and the British Ironwork Centre to help educate schoolchildren and raise awareness of the need to protect our oceans and marine life from deadly plastics pollution.
Every day, marine ecosystems are threatened by the exposure of harmful chemicals and micro plastics, added to the oceans through human activity. A shocking eight million metric tons of plastic enter our oceans every year, with 80% of marine pollution coming from land-based activity.
Cllr Carolyn Healy, Telford & Wrekin Council cabinet member for climate change, green spaces, natural and historic environment, said: “This has been a brilliant way for our young people to learn about the impact we are having on our oceans.
“We may live quite far from the sea, but our actions still have an impact on marine life and we need to do something about it. We need to reduce the amount of single-use plastics we use.”
The art installation features 23 giant fish sculptures created by the ironworks centre and decorated by pupils from 23 schools in Telford and Wrekin. The prototype created and decorated by the ironworks centre also joins the shoal, bringing the total number of fish to 24.
This was a project about plastic pollution in the sea. Telford is about as far from the sea as you can get in the UK, so it was important to get the engagement right. The use of art and links to the balloon festival was found to be a great mechanism for achieving this.