Wanda the Waste Warrior Fish!

The 6-metre-long fish sculpture which landed in Poole in April to highlight the problem of ocean plastic pollution now has a name. Of 240 suggestions submitted, ‘Wanda the Waste Warrior Fish’ was the overwhelming favourite.

Wanda was commissioned by the Final Straw Foundation using funds raised by We Have The POWER through the generosity of local donors plus Plastic Free Bournemouth, LUSH and Saffery Champness LLP accountants.

Wanda is now travelling on around the Bournemouth Christchurch Poole area to highlight the harm caused by marine plastic and encourage people to bring their own reusables and refill and reuse instead of throwing away.  Her next stop is Bournemouth Pier approach.

Wanda heads up a campaign by local groups, businesses and BCP Council to spread the Reuse, Refill and Reduce message. They aim to:

  • Encourage people to bring their own reusable drinks bottles and cups when going out and about
  • Signpost free drinking water refill points including along our beach promenades to reduce purchases of bottled water
  • Encourage vendors to allow customers to use their own reusable cups – with guidance on how to do this in a contactless, COVID safe way
  • Encourage vendors to operate reusable cup return schemes

Julia Davies, founder of We Have The POWER, said: “It’s great to see Wanda the Waste Warrior Fish spreading the Reuse, Refill and Reduce message.  Single use bottles and cups are just rubbish and we urgently need to turn down the tap on the amount of single use waste.   There is no “away” and we need to stop thinking that it’s better to ship a plastic cup half way around the World, use it once, then bin, creating a long term waste problem, rather than good old washing up!   Older generations didn’t cause waste like this and we need to get back to their less wasteful way of living.  Single use plastic is not only rubbish – it is also fossil fuels – so we need to use a lot less of it to tackle the Climate Emergency.  Let’s take a lesson from our older generations and use our own refillable water bottles, containers and cups on trips to our beaches and parks.”

Every year:-

Wanda has been adopted as part of the Leave Only Footprints campaign to engage with residents, visitors, businesses and the wider community to help protect the local environment and reduce waste, litter and pollution.

Cllr Mark Anderson, Portfolio Holder for Environment, Cleansing and Waste, said; “Our waste warrior fish has been a great talking point since arriving in Poole.  From reducing single use plastic through schemes such as the water Refill app to littering, over the summer, Wanda’s journey along our coast will help to inspire those using our beaches, parks and open spaces to do the right thing and enjoy these spaces responsibly.  Understanding our impact on the environment and the actions we can all take are key. Wanda is doing a fantastic job helping to promote the Leave Only Footprints message and I’m sure will be popular when she arrives in Bournemouth in June.”

Nick Fernyhough, Partner at one of the donors Saffery Champness said “The issue of single use waste is one area where we can all start to make a difference. We are very pleased to have been able to help with the ‘Wanda’ project which is not only very practical but also publicises the issue in an effective way.  Hopefully Wanda is one way of combatting the waste generated by beach-goers and educating them to avoid single-use items.”​​​

Over 115 health experts from around the world have said that reusables are perfectly safe to use providing basic health & hygiene guidance is followed.  See a simple guide to serving beverages in reusable cups safely here and a poster for coffee shop owners to display in their window here.

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