Picture this: you’re decided on fish and chips for tea and take a seat at the local chippy, cover your food in salt and vinegar and prepare to tuck in. Only then your fork hits something solid.
“I’ve asked for fish and chips. What the f***k is that?” one customer can be heard exclaiming in secret filming after being served deep fried plastic at a chip shop in Blackburn, Lancashire. “Excuse me, I don’t think this is right?” another woman says. “Here, change my meal,” says another.
The stunt was by Plastic Oceans, the campaign group behind the 2016 Netflix documentary film, A Plastic Ocean.
“People were clearly not happy with what they’d been served,” Dr Geoff Brighty, technical director at Plastic Oceans, told HuffPost UK, “and then as time went on we explained what the point was – that this could be our new alternative food source if we don’t do something about the amount of plastic going into the ocean.”
Blighty added: “Our national dish is under threat, and if we don’t change how we consume and use plastic we might have to say goodbye to something we’ve been enjoying for years and years.”
The stunt “really brought it home” with regulars, he said.
Jo Ruxton, co-founder of Plastic Oceans, said the organisation aims to raise awareness of the plight of the oceans with all its activities – from the chippy stunt to A Plastic Ocean, which she directed.
Ruxton spent eight years filming the Netflix documentary at 22 locations around the world, including a month in the middle of the Pacific, and had been shocked to witness first hand the impact that plastic has on the ocean ecosystem “from remote islands in the Pacific, right back to the US.”
“While there are large pieces floating around the real insidious nature of plastic is the fact that because it’s brittle, it never goes away and just breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces,” she told HuffPost UK,
“We know plastic is getting into the food chain, and what we’re trying to do is stop it at source – make people realise that they cannot keep throwing away a product that was designed to last forever and makes its way into the ocean so easily.”
After Blackburn’s unwitting fish and chip fans were made aware of the stunt, they were given refunds – or actual fish and chips.