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Children’s books help Viridor and Cardiff City Council share ocean plastic message

Ysgol-Y-Wern Primary School with their copies of two books, sponsored by Viridor, which teach children about protecting marine wildlife by keeping plastic out of our oceans.

Viridor’s Trident Park Energy Recovery Facility and Cardiff City Council are helping pupils at 98 Cardiff primary schools learn more about protecting marine wildlife by keeping plastic out of our oceans.

The education team at Trident Park is sponsoring copies of the two books – Duffy’s Lucky Escape and Marli’s Tangled Tale, both written by Ellie Jackson and illustrated by Liz Oldmeadow and Laura Callwood.

The books tell the story of Duffy (a turtle) and Marli (a puffin) who mistake the plastics and balloons they find in their natural habitat for food and become seriously ill. Fortunately, both Duffy and Marli are rescued and nursed back to health but the stories and illustrations sensitively educate children on the need to consider where their rubbish ends up.

Viridor Trident Park Acting Education Centre Officer Emma Wood said: “When the schools visit our centre we focus our message on reminding the children what can be recycled so local families make the most of recycling opportunities. Our message is clear, we ask everyone to put the Right Waste in the Right Bin.

“The children then also see how a purpose is found for the waste which cannot be recycled and how this transformed into renewable energy.

“These education visits are really important because we know the children take the lessons they learn home with them and, through pester power, influence how their homes recycle rubbish.

“The books we are sponsoring are part of reinforcing this message and it’s lovely that the children will learn more about puffins and turtles at the same time. Encouraging an interest in nature, the world around us and our impact on it is so important.”

Cabinet Member for Clean Streets, Recycling and Environment, Cllr Michael Michael said: “I think that books like these are an excellent way of getting the message across about the global problem of ocean plastics. As a Council we recognise that single-use plastics can create unnecessary waste with negative impacts on our communities and environment. Within the UK’s top 10 core cities Cardiff has the best record for recycling, but when it comes to plastics re-use is always preferable to recycling or disposal, as it requires less energy and creates less waste. That’s why we will continue to work with partners such as ‘No Straw Stand’ to help promote the desire to move away from single-use plastics.”

UK-based author Ellie, teacher and mother-of-four, points out in the books that the stories highlight “the relationship between humans and wildlife” and “invites children and adults alike to question the impact of plastic pollution on our environment”.

The books give the children fun facts about wildlife but also challenge them and their families to do their bit by recycling as much as they can at home, taking part in beach cleans, reporting injured wildlife to charities and vets along with spreading the word about the threat to wildlife.

Ellie said that, because of the global nature of the problem of ocean plastics, she had always wanted to get the books translated into as many different languages as possible so children around the world can understand the message and she had no idea that Welsh would be the first one.

“When Marten Lewis from The Darwin Centre in Pembrokeshire offered to get the books translated into Welsh I was really excited – here is a book which the children can access in the language of their culture which makes the message of the book even more powerful. Thanks to The Darwin Centre’s inspiration and ideas, I am now getting the book translated into many other languages including Swahili through their links to turtle charities in Kenya.”

Children around the UK are now using the books as inspiration to take action in the form of organising their own beach cleans or litter picks, writing to government and local businesses asking them to consider their use of single use plastic such as straws, setting up recycling at school and at home and also working towards becoming Eco-Schools and Plastic Free Schools.

Ellie is asking for the whole Cardiff community to support the children’s efforts by making small changes in their own lives which will collectively make a big difference to our environment. Refuse single use plastic such as straws, takeaway containers, disposable coffee mugs, plastic bags etc and know that every single time that you choose reusable over disposable you are helping to preserve our wildlife.

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