The game

Clean the Oceans

The idea for the game came when reading about the Ocean Cleanup project. While we are not affiliated with the project in any way, the topic is very interesting for a boardgame. Raising awareness for the pollution problem, especially the plastic in the oceans, is something we think is very worthwhile.

Person Holding Plastic Bottle

Every year, tons of plastic end up in the world’s oceans. Plastic is in almost everything we use in our daily lives, mainly because it is cheap and durable. Being so durable is a characteristic that became a real problem for the environment.

The slow decay and the incorrect management of the plastic waste led to it spreading throughout the environment. Also, it led to it’s fragmentation in small particles, called micro plastics (<5mm), that build up especially in the ocean.

Other than the visual pollution, we can name other impacts: health issues (they can infiltrate the food chain), economic (fishing, tourism, costs associated to cleaning the plastics) and ecological (they are mistaken by food and ingested by different animals).

“The plastic waste became a constant presence in any maritime activity, as in fishing, surf, beach activities, etc. A bottle of plastic can last around 450 years, decomposing slowly and, eventually, decomposing  in micro plastic particles, but never completely disappearing. For example, plastic particles have already been found in the Arctic ice. A plastic bag, used, on average, for only 12 minutes, can take between 100 and 300 years to decompose.

Two thirds of ocean plastic came from land. They come mostly from industrial waste, landfills and scrapyards close to the coast, from sewage systems that don’t filter micro plastic and from waste abandoned in beaches and coastal zones. The other third comes from losses at sea, ship cargo or fishing material that either dropped or was thrown to the sea.

The annual plastic consumption passed 320 million tons. The United Nations state that if the rate of pollution is maintained, in 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans.

A giant system of plastic distribution: five great ocean currents – the gyres – move the maritime waste and concentrate it in some ocean zones, forming large garbage islands, including plastics and their particles.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the greatest plastic dump in the world and is growing exponentially, states a study published by the journal Nature in March of 2018. For a sample, scientists collected more than one million objects (1.136.145), with 668 kg total weight, in an area of 1,6 million square kms. Plastic makes up 99% of the total of the garbage found.

In Jornal PĂșblico, 22th April 2018

We plan to visit local schools to talk about this problem, using as an educative tool the game Clean the oceans, and also to challenge the children to pick up plastic near their homes or on the way to school.

The game, initially designed for a boardgame but then changed to be played outside, is aimed at children. It is based on the traditional Tag, but mimics the constant flow of the plastic to the oceans, and the difficult task of collecting it.

Before starting to play, a small group that represents “boats” of plastic collection is chosen. They should be a minimum of 2, and about 1/10th of the total number of players (for 40 children, start with 4). Depending on the size of the field, you can increase or reduce the size of each group. The rest of the kids will pretend to be the plastic in the oceans.

Make a square/rectangular field as the local area permits (marking lines on the floor, or use 4 objects to mark the corners, and imagine the lines). You can also use an existing field, like a small football pitch. Inside that field make a smaller area, like shown on the image below. The triangles represent the “boats”, and the circles represent the players that pretend to be plastic. In the beginning of the game, the players that represent the plastic enter the field from the exterior, and the “boats” enter the field from the central area.

The game proceeds in the following fashion:

The players that represent the plastic have as an objective to get to the central zone, that represents the pacific garbage patch. The “boats” have as an objective to catch them before they get to the central area, and, if they manage to, the player who was caught must stand still in the same spot. When all the players representing plastic have made it to the center or were caught, the “boats” collect the ones that didn’t make it to the center, grabbing their hands and making human chains, one per boat.

After “collecting” all the players that were not in the center, the players will be in groups, one for each “boat” and the group that made it to the center. The group with more elements is declared the winner.