Sadly, about 1 million marine animals die from plastic ingestion a year. This needs to stop. A good start is by educating our kids about how to respect the oceans and care about our planet with the help of new campaign, Pollutoys.

Pollutoys is a new campaign launched by Sea Shepherd, the world’s leading direct action-action ocean conservation organisation. They’re on a mission to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species. To create this campaign they teamed up with the independent boutique creative agency Fred & Farid and have made a powerful and fun way to teach our kids to respect the oceans and care about our planet.

The Pollutoys are a series of eight adorable plushies (soft-toys to you and me) with a hidden secret. We’ve discovered previously the use of toys as communication tools has proven successful in helping children decode and understand complex and difficult issues, and this looks to be another great example.

Meet Mark the Shark, Pelle the Pelican, Martha the Manta Ray, Willy the Whale and Penny the Penguin. Cute ‘eh?!

These lovable plushies were designed and brought to life by Budapest toy designer Andrea Vida and her partner Gabor in collaboration with early childhood teachers. But behind their adorable little faces lies a sad reality… their stomachs are full of trash: plastic bags, bottles, cups, straws, cutlery, balloons, caps and all the other junk that gets thrown into the oceans and attracts animals. Tragic.

We caught up with Andrea to ask about the project.

“We made our first plushies for our own children about 20 years ago. Even though our children are all grown up (22 and 21), our passion for plushies is still alive. We’ve been selling them on Etsy and other online marketplaces for about seven years. That’s where Fred and Farid found us and approached us to design the characters for the Pollutoys campaign. They told us only what species were needed and then gave us total freedom in the design.”

“The campaigns goal is to educate children all around the world about this important issue and to collect donations for Sea Shepherd.”