Synchro swimmers perform in a pool filled with plastic

Big Bang Fair swimmers
© Big Bang Fair (used with permission)

Two teens send a powerful message about the effects of plastic pollution.

Two young synchronized swimmers in Britain have made a splash with a recent performance. Kate Shortman (17) and Isabelle Thorpe (18) of Bristol attempted their World Championship synchro routine in a swimming pool full of floating plastic waste.

The performance, which was requested by the organizers of the Big Bang Fair, an annual science fair for up-and-coming young scientists and engineers, made a powerful statement about the effect of plastic pollution on the Earth. From a writeup on the Big Bang Fair blog:

"Unsurprisingly, [the] young synchro pair... struggled to perform their routine swimmingly in a training pool littered with thousands of items of floating plastic. Getting in the way of their normally effortless-looking performance were hundreds of single-use plastic drinking bottles, not to mention a 'sea' of plastic toiletries, plastic bags and plastic food containers."

A video (embedded below) shows them coming up with plastic bags on their feet, bottles getting in the way of their arcing arms, and trash floating past as they dive underwater. One can't help but squirm uncomfortably while watching. It looks so wrong to be swimming in the midst of all that garbage, and yet this is what countless birds, fish, and other marine life have to deal with every day.

There's also a profound sense of guilt, knowing that we all play a role in contributing to this waste. Personal consumption habits (along with horrendous packaging design on the part of manufacturers) continue to drive the influx of plastic into oceans and other waterways.

On a more positive note, the Big Bang Fair notes that there was a 14 percent increase in submissions this year that address saving the planet:

"These young people are putting their hands and minds to the task and coming up with innovative ways to reduce plastic waste... In fact, according to The Big Bang Fair nearly a third (28 percent) of young people say they want to see the oceans being revolutionised by STEM."

You can see the plastic-filled pool here:

Synchro swimmers perform in a pool filled with plastic
Two teens send a powerful message about the effects of plastic pollution.

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