Pupils across the country set to attempt new Guinness World Record to raise awareness about environmental impact of plastic

More than 6,000 primary school pupils at schools across the country are currently signed up to take part in the Plastic Bottle Boat Challenge. The pupils’ aim is to set a new Guinness World Record to highlight the impact plastic waste is having on oceans and the environment.

The Plastic Bottle Boat Challenge is an attempt to set a Guinness World Record for the simultaneous launch of a flotilla of plastic boats. The boats will be made out of recycled plastic bottles by primary school children across the country. The boats themselves will then be recycled after the attempt has been made, showing the importance of reusing and recycling materials.

The Plastic Bottle Boat Challenge is intended to demonstrate the impact that plastic bottle waste can have on the environment. Participating schools have access to a hub of resources for teachers to support learning centred around the issues of plastic pollution in the oceans, the environment, recycling and the circular economy and all educators are invited to contribute or use the resources available to support their school’s curriculum.

The Guinness World Record attempt follows a similar attempt achieved, in the development of the project, by the pupils at St. James’ Church of England Academy in Bournemouth, with the support of the Queen Mary Sailing Club. 330 plastic bottle boats were successfully launched, officially setting a new world record, and recycled. What began in one school has now been taken up by over 60 schools, with more than 6,000 pupils and over 300 teachers involved. Organisers are anticipating many more to follow.

Jeremy Payne, Principal of St. James’ Church of England Academy in Bournemouth, said:

“I’ve been thrilled by the huge response we’ve had to the Plastic Bottle Boat Challenge, with schools up and down the country asking to take part. Young people in school today will bear the brunt of the future environmental impact of waste plastic, so it’s essential that they learn to take responsibility for their own plastic use. We have seen first-hand how passionate the children become about this subject when they really see the consequences of our actions.”

“The Plastic Bottle Boat Challenge offers an exciting way to simultaneously unite schools in plastic education and also attempt to set a new Guinness World Record. We all have an important role to play in looking after the future of the planet, and the Plastic Bottle Boat Challenge teaches that every one of us must play our part in combatting this global issue.”

Speaking about the challenge, Revered John Pares, Priest in Charge of St James and St Clements Churches in the Diocese of Winchester, and governor of St. James’ Church of England Academy, said:

“This project is a wonderful, inventive way of encouraging young people to take responsibility for their environment. I think we are all increasingly aware of the damage that plastic is doing to the oceans and our coastline, and it is vital that we take action now to preserve and defend all of God’s creation.

“Care for the environment is fundamental to Christian faith, as we seek to protect the gifts that God has given us and create more sustainable communities. The Plastic Bottle Boat Challenge, which began at St. James’ Church of England Academy, is now raising awareness and inspiring environmental responsibility in school children across the county.”

The Guinness World Record Attempt is taking place on Wednesday 27th June, 2018 at 14:00 BST. Simultaneously, at multiple locations around the country, thousands of plastic bottle boats will be launched, retrieved and recycled.

The idea for the challenge originated at Queen Mary Sailing Cub hoping to connect with local schools and has now been supported by the Heathrow Community Fund with an initial grant of £17,000 to enable the production of a website to scale the project nationally.

Tony Bishop, Club Secretary at Queen Mary Sailing Club said:

“It’s overwhelming the amount of support we have received for the challenge, the response from schools and teachers has been fantastic. Sign up will remain open right up to the day of the attempt and there is a great team behind the challenge to support anyone wishing to get involved.”

Schools across the country are invited to visit the website at www.plasticbottleboatchallenge.com and sign some, or all, of their children up for the attempt on June 27th this year.

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