A new and improved plastic-eating fish has been unveiled at Westward Ho! to raise awareness of plastic pollution.
‘Philupa the fish’ has been installed on the promenade and replaces her ‘big brother’ Philup, which was damaged by storms during the winter.
She was officially opened by Torridge MP Geoffrey Cox at a small ceremony on Wednesday (August 12).
Philupa is a bit smaller and more robust, but still has plenty of room for people to recycle their plastic bottles.
The plastic will then be recycled by Torridge District Council instead of going to landfill or ending up as litter.
The galvanised steel fish was commissioned by John and Julie Martin of Carousel Amusements and made by Rob Floyd.
Mr Martin said: “It’s great to have it back again, because it has been missed. People were asking after it in the amusements all the time and I kept saying ‘it was battered’!
“It had an impact as we were putting it up, with people taking photos.
“This one is a lot stronger, easier to empty, and it’s got a smaller mouth so it takes the smaller plastic we can cope with.”
Mr Floyd added: “This time it’s galvanised so it should last a bit longer. It’s a bit smaller but it’s got a bit more character.”
Mr Cox expressed his support for the initiative and its revival. He said: “I am really pleased to see that Westward Ho! is continuing to lead the way in its work to reduce plastic pollution in our seas and to raise awareness of this issue.
“It is an essential task, if we are to reduce our consumption of single use plastic items, and I am sure that Philupa will play an important part in this locally.”
Philupa’s predecessor was installed in May 2019 and collected around 200kg of plastic before the winter storms took their toll.
Plastic Free Torridge’s Andrew Cross said it was ‘brilliant’ to have a plastic collecting fish back on the Seafront, and noted it was already being well used after a couple of hours.
Philupa also has wheels, it can be used to raise awareness elsewhere and be taken to events.
Mr Cross said: “It collects plastic and it gives a talking point. People ask and find out what it’s about and it’s a fun way of raising awareness.”