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Meerkat enjoying Halloween pumpkin

You got the bottle to face zoo’s Halloween horror?

We have all heard of the phrase ‘a message in a bottle’ – but this half term Hanwell Zoo has taken it literally for its campaign for Halloween week, with a creative way to show off the scary truth about plastic waste.

‘Message in a Bottle’ is a 12ft high sculpture at the heart of the zoo installed especially for the Halloween half term. It was made from more than 2,000 plastic bottles collected from bins and bushes in the surrounding park in the past month.

A whopping 118kg has gone into the sculpture, offering a frightening reminder of how much plastic is thrown away in even one small corner of the borough. In fact, at the lowest estimate, the same amount of plastic is wasted in the UK, and a similar figure, dumped into the world’s oceans in just one second.

It is the centre piece of the zoo’s ‘Waste Week’ theme, as it invites the public to learn all about animals alongside petrifying plastic pollution.

The Message in a Bottle sculpture
The Message in a Bottle sculpture

Visitors can pump water through the interactive sculpture as it becomes a working waterfall. It is a reminder that it takes 10 million joules of energy to create one litre bottle of water. This is the same amount of energy it takes to run a marathon or pump the waterfall 160,000 times.

Young guests can also take part in a ‘Trail of Waste’ for a chance to win membership for a year, as well as kick off Halloween among the frightful flamingos, menacing meerkats, lurking lemurs and the creeping cranes that live at the zoo.

Jim Gregory, the zoo’s senior curator, said: “We are excited to invite people along for our Waste Week and hope to reveal the spooky truth behind all different kinds of waste. It’s been interesting preparing for this event, as it has made us look at our own waste harder than ever before.

“As a result, we have further minimised our plastic use, contacted suppliers concerning use of unnecessary plastic in packaging and we really hope to inspire our guests to make positive behaviour changes to help to save our planet.”

Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, the council’s cabinet member for finance and leisure said: “Once again, Hanwell Zoo is the place to be this Halloween with a range of fun and educational activities for children.

“I encourage families to plan a visit over half-term, enjoy a great day out, take in the powerful message on display and help support this wonderful local gem.”

The zoo is open seven days a week, 10am-4pm.

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