What a Waste!

To raise funds for an exhibition on Marine Plastic Pollution to be housed at the National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth.

Unfortunately, this project was not successful

Project aim

To raise funds for an exhibition on Marine Plastic Pollution to be housed at the National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth.

About the project

The National Marine Aquarium is the UK’s largest public aquarium and it is also a registered charity dedicated to conserving the Marine Environment. Welcoming around 300,000 visitors each year from all over the UK we take our job very seriously. As well as providing a truly world class visitor experience we devote a lot of our time and resources to carrying out education, conservation and research.

We teach around 30,000 school children each year about the marine environment through a formal learning programme linked to the National Curriculum.

As well as engaging with our visitors we also work with the media and our on-line community to campaign for real change in relation to the marine environment. You can learn more about our work from our website, www.national-aquarium.co.uk, our facebook page facebook/nationalmarineaquarium and our twitter feeds, @NMAPlymouth, @Reconnect_NMA, @DrDaveNMA.

Why we are crowdfunding

We have launched this Crowdfunder campaign to raise at least £30,000 to help us fund a semi-permanent exhibition about Marine Plastic Pollution. The exhibit will explain what we can all do to prevent this important issue getting any worse.

Millions of tons of domestic and industrial plastic waste finds its way into our seas and oceans each year. As well as polluting our seas, oceans and beaches this plastic is lethal to many hundreds of species of marine animal.

Plastic is now found throughout marine food chains, it chokes and kills thousands of animals such as turtles, whales, dolphins and seabirds each year and it is consumed by fish and invertebrates across the globe. It is so pervasive that it is now finding its way back to us through the foodchain!

By changing the way we buy and dispose of products in our everyday lives we can all make a real difference to the health of the world’s oceans.

Our exhibition will use plastic waste collected from beaches around the South West of England to entertain and educate our visitors about the dangers posed by marine plastic pollution and give real life examples of what we can all do to reduce the impact of this waste.



 Rame Peninsula Beach Care (The Artists!)

"Nobody likes to go to the beach and find it covered in rubbish – but marine plastic is much more than just an eyesore. We’ve only been using plastic on a wide scale for 60 years, and the harm it’s already causing in the ocean is overwhelming.

Each year plastic kills at least one million sea birds and 100,000 whales, dolphins, seals and turtles, which either mistake it for food or become entangled in it. In some parts of the ocean there are six times more plastic particles than plankton. Most marine litter starts out as litter on land, so we can actually do a lot to stop it ever reaching the sea.

We want this exhibition to raise much-needed public awareness about marine litter and the unnecessary suffering it causes. We also hope it will spread the message that this is a tragedy we can all do something about – from government down to individuals and the everyday choices we make."

Marine Conservation Society (MCS)

"The amount of litter on our beaches and in our seas is too high and we need to do something about it. Marine wildlife can become entangled in it or mistake it for food. It also looks disgusting, is a hazard to our health and costs millions to clear up. 

 In 2014 the Marine Conservation Society found nearly 2,500 items of litter for every kilometre of beach we surveyed. Our 'throw-away' consumer culture has meant we use more plastic than ever in our daily lives, and we have seen this reflected in our Beachwatch surveys: the amount of plastic litter on beaches has increased 180% since 1994. Plastic never biodegrades or disappears, it just breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, and can eventually become microplastics. Worryingly, microplastics can also be found in products like toothpaste, shaving foam and facial and body scrubs. These tiny plastic pieces in our personal care products are being washed down our drains and end up in our seas, where they can adsorb toxic chemicals from their surroundings. Since microplastics can be eaten by animals near the bottom of the food chain, the potential exists for these toxins to be passed up the food chain, ultimately to ourselves as seafood consumers. Litter comes from many sources – the public, fishing and shipping activities, from people putting stuff down the loo, instead of in the bin so it ends up on the beach through sewage pipes – but it is all preventable!"

Prof Richard Thompson, Plymouth University

"Plastic debris is widespread in the marine environment. It contaminates habitats from the poles to the equator and has been reported on shorelines, at the sea surface and in  the deep sea. Around 700 species are known to encounter marine debris; in many cases this results in physical harm or death. Yet the societal benefits that plastics bring can be realised without the need for emissions of plastic debris to the environment. Solutions are at hand, but require us to rethink our production, use and disposal of plastic items.  Education is central to achieving change, our previous work has shown just how important public exhibits can be in raising awareness not only about the problem but also the solutions.  I fully support this funding initiative.’’


  1. How much of the money raised will go towards the exhibition?
  2. 100% of our target £30,000 will go to designing, building and installing the exhibition. Any funds raised above and beyond our initial target will allow us to provide, free of charge, reusable water bottles to each of the students who come to the aquarium to learn about the marine environment.
  3. Who will be commissioned to design and build the exhibition?
  4. A local artists group, based at Rame Head, will be commissioned to build the majority of the exhibition. The overall exhibition design will be completed by our Creative Partners at Bluestone 360.
  5. Where will the plastic used in the exhibition come from?
  6. It will be collected from beaches across Devon and Cornwall, cleaned and then repurposed into the exhibition.
  7. How long will the exhibition be on show?
  8. We have committed to having the exhibition on show for a minimum of 2 years from July 2015.