Plastic monster brings creative plastic pollution solutions to COP26

In a new podcast Dr Cressida Bowyer, Dr Erika Hughes and Teresiah Wambui Warui from the University of Portsmouth Revolution Plastics team explain why they went to COP26 with a lifesize plastic monster.

The team were in the Green Zone exhibition area on Friday 5 November. They were there to demonstrate how high levels of community engagement and participation are being achieved with low cost-creative methods in some of the world’s most plastic polluted areas. These creative methods include a stunning life sized ‘Total Trash Talisman’; as well as music videos, films, interactive theatre and social media campaigns.

Plastic is known to be a major contributor to climate change at every stage of its lifecyle, from the emission of greenhouse gases during its manufacture to the subsequent pollution from the burning of plastic waste. There’s also the major impact of discarded plastic on ecosystems that are already struggling to deal with rising temperatures.

Cities in the Global South are disproportionately impacted by plastic pollution. Countries that are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change also have the most plastic pollution due to limited waste disposal infrastructures and inadequate management of plastic waste. This is exacerbated by the import of waste from high income countries.

With this in mind, the University of Portsmouth launched its “Sustainable Transitions to End Plastic Pollution” (STEPP) project, which identified opportunities to tackle the problem of urban plastic pollution.

Community workers from the Mukuru Youth Initiative also made a virtual appearance on the stand in Glasgow. They also demonstrated how creative campaigns are being used to reduce the amount of plastic waste in a community that has become overwhelmed by plastic pollution, and created a plastic monster of their own to duplicate the activities in their own community.

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